Report To The People

Tuition Assistance Grant Doubles Financial Help For State’s Freshmen And Sophomores

By Tommy Reynolds

Last week the House of Representative Appropriations Committee passed and reported to the full House of Representatives SB 3218 which provides funding for financial assistance for Mississippi college students from the State of Mississippi. The House Appropriations Committee agreed to an amendment that I offered to the Bill which would have the affect of doubling financial assistance to Mississippi freshman and sophomores under the Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant Program. Currently freshman and sophomores receive $250 per semester and juniors and seniors receive $500 per semester in tuition assistance grants from the State. It has been quite a number of years since the Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant Program was established and the amount of money going to students per year under the Program has not been increased.

Under the amendment that I proposed, the amount of assistance going to freshman and sophomores would increase to $500 per semester from the current amount of $250 per semester. This increase would cost the state general fund $6,735,130. In order to receive the funds provided, students would need to maintain a passing average with a 2.5 grade point average.

I was very pleased that the House of Representatives overwhelmingly last week adopted the amendment to the bill that provided this additional funding for Mississippi freshman and sophomores. In future years if this increase in tuition assistance can be finally enacted by the Legislature, I want to try to push for additional assistance for all Mississippi college students so that the cost of a college education will not be priced out of reach for deserving Mississippi students.

Last week I handled the appropriation bill for the University Medical Center on the House floor, and the House passed an amendment to the bill to provide additional funding to increase the medical school class size. The House voted to eliminate cuts to the University Medical Center that had earlier been proposed by the Legislative Budget Commission. I was pleased to support the provision of additional scholarships for students that intended to practice to practice in rural and under served areas of our state. The University Medical Center serves a tremendous number of Mississippians each year and has a vital role in research for disease prevention as well as in its cancer institute. University Medical Center also has a critical role in the training of physicians in our state.

If I can be of any assistance to you please call on me. My phone number in Jackson during the session is (601) 359-3365. The phone number in my Charleston office is (662) 647-3203, and my residence phone number is (662) 473-2571. I can also be contacted by writing me at my home address of 15 CR 429, Water Valley, MS 38965, or at my office address of P.O. Box 280, Charleston, MS 38921.

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