Redesign Mississippi’s Resident Tuition Assistance Grant (MTAG) and Reform the Higher Education Legislative Plan for Needy Students (HELP).
Improve college affordability to strengthen Mississippi’s workforce pipeline
Education is the cornerstone of economic mobility in Mississippi. More Mississippians need access to affordable education and training to prepare for in-demand jobs and to expand economic development opportunities in the state. Jobs requiring postsecondary education will continue to grow, yet there is a shortfall in the production of those credentials. Fewer high school students are going directly to college and nearly 200,000 working-aged adults would benefit from earning a credential. Improving college affordability supports the goals of Ascent to 55% and Accelerate MS to increase attainment and transform the state’s workforce.
Investing in state financial aid will spark economic development with a prepared workforce.
Mississippi’s financial aid programs have served students for over 25 years and have largely remained unchanged. Investing an additional $21 million will address key design issues to ensure MTAG keeps pace with the needs of the workforce.
Mississippi State Financial Aid Task Force
The Woodward Hines Education Foundation convened a nonpartisan task force in 2022 of 16 education and workforce leaders in Mississippi. The group explored how Mississippi’s student financial aid investments can be best leveraged to meet the economic development needs of the state. They reviewed state and national data exploring the impact of Mississippi’s current student financial aid investments, current and future workforce needs, postsecondary attainment levels, needs of adult and part-time students, and high-growth and in-demand jobs.
The nonpartisan task force was supported by Lumina Foundation’s Strategy Labs with HCM Strategists providing subject-matter expertise and meeting facilitation support from Dr. Jimmy Clarke, Dr. Nate Johnson, and Dr. Rachelle Sharpe, with analysis support from Dr. Kimberly Hanauer of UnlockED.