Mississippi to allow access to federal financial aid to those without high school diploma


JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi became the fourth state in the nation to allow students without a high school diploma to potentially receive federal financial aid for enrolling in eligible career pathway programs at a Mississippi community college.

The plan was approved by the United States Department of Education (DOE), which was submitted by the Mississippi Community College Board (MCCB) in October 2020.

According to the MCCB, the plan states certain students who previously would not qualify for Federal financial aid, including those without a high school diploma or its equivalent, may be eligible for these resources. This includes students enrolled in the Mississippi Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (MIBEST) program. MIBEST is available at all 15 community colleges and enrolls those without a high school diploma into adult education and career/technical education courses.

“I am very appreciative to the DOE for approving our process for Ability to Benefit,” said Dr. Andrea Mayfield Executive Director of the MCCB. “In Mississippi, we have more than 360,000 people without a high school diploma. Oftentimes, these individuals are not able to have resources to improve their educational levels and skills training. By allowing access to Federal financial aid, more people will have the opportunity to better their lives by working with a community college. This benefits everyone.”

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