Mississippi Public Universities
2005 Student Services Winners
First Place: University of Southern Mississippi
"Luckyday Foundation Citizen Scholarship Program"
The University of Southern Mississippi was awarded first place in the Student Services category for its Luckyday Foundation Citizenship Scholarship Program. The Luckyday program immerses Citizenship Scholars in a residential living and learning community to improve student development, retention, and success.

Citizenship Scholars are recruited exclusively from Mississippi high schools, based on community service and leadership achievement and family financial need. Each student chosen receives a $2500 annual scholarship, renewable for four years depending on academic success. In addition, ten study-abroad scholarships are available to Citizenship Scholars with high academic achievement.

The students are housed together on campus in residential learning communities. As part of the program, freshman scholars are assigned mentors, trained Citizenship Scholars from the upper class. In addition, scholars are required to complete hours of community service as well as to participate in leadership development and skill development activities. The program is exceeding its goal of a 90-percent freshman-to-sophomore retention rate and a 70-percent graduation rate.

Second Place: University of Mississippi
"Comprehensive Online Financial Aid Student Self-Service"
Second place in Student Services was awarded to the University of Mississippi’s Comprehensive Online Financial Aid Student Self-Service project, which allows students to have “one-stop shopping” for financial aid processing and to provide fast, efficient service to students.

In the comprehensive approach, University of Mississippi students can take care of such university business as class registration, checking grades, completing teacher evaluations, and others through a web portal called “Online Services.” In addition, students can update graduation date, permanent address, and planned enrollment hours in one place, as well as accepting scholarship terms, selecting student loan lenders, accessing promissory notes, applying for summer financial aid, and reporting additional aid. The self-service program then introduced a consolidated scholarship application which could be completed as part of the admissions process or at a later date.

The University of Mississippi program has allowed the institution to realize significant savings in mailing and paper costs, as well as providing noticeable relief in administrative burden. It also allows for the standardized, timely communication of complex information in the administration of financial aid services at the university.