Apply for college financial aid now

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 3, 2018

The beginning of a new month means graduation day is that much closer for high school seniors.

By now, many students preparing to attend college have already chosen a school they will attend next fall or they’re still on the fence. While selecting a college, many factors are taken into account, such as location, campus size, clubs, academics and reputation. But one of the main factors is the cost, which usually varies depending on whether the school is a community college or a four-year university and whether the school is public or private. Fortunately, there are several financial opportunities available that can help pay for a higher education.

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Morgan Cruse, Student Support Coordinator at Pearl River Central High School, said there are four types of financial aid high school students can apply for; those include federal, state, institutional and independent scholarships.

Students can also visit or when searching for scholarships.

In Pearl River County, Poplarville High School counselor Katie Young said students can also apply for scholarships awarded by local organizations. Some of those include the Poplarville Women’s Club, the Pearl River Board of Realtors and the Henleyfield Community Scholarship.

“I recommend my students to not only apply for national scholarships but also to apply for the local scholarships because the pool size is smaller,” Cruse said.

In order for students to receive federal and state financial aid, they are required to submit an application to FAFSA. According to, FAFSA is a free application potential or returning college students can use to see how much financial aid they are able to obtain either through student loans or grants.

“Most schools will not award you any scholarships or grants until you file your FAFSA application,” Cruse said.

When students file a FAFSA application, they can send the application to the college they will attend or send it to those they are considering attending.

Students who are still considering which campus to attend should narrow their list to one community college and two four-year universities, Cruse said.

“Applying for schools can get expensive and time consuming, so by narrowing prospective schools to only three, it can help you save time and money,” Cruse said.

The three most popular grants in Mississippi include the Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant, the Mississippi Eminent Scholarships Grant and the Higher Education Legislative Plan Grant, Young said. Stipulations for the MES Grant require the applicant to be a Mississippi resident, have at least a 3.0 GPA and a 29 ACT score. Requirements for the MTAG also mandate that applicants be a Mississippi resident, have at least a 2.5 GPA and an ACT score of 15, Young said.

To learn more about in-state financial aid opportunities, visit

“At the end, just remember that by receiving federal, state, institutional and independent scholarships, financial aid can add up and help students attend school either for free or at a low-cost.”

Young said Poplarville High School will host a financial aid day, Feb. 28, where parents and students can receive assistance to complete their state and federal financial aid.

For more information on FAFSA and financial aid, visit