102314_0657The MECC AIMS Higher Scholarship encourages Virginia-resident high school students in Lee, Scott, Wise, Dickenson Counties and the City of Norton to complete a challenging curriculum and to pursue higher education. Graduating high school students who meet the requirements of the AIMS Scholars (Virginia Scholars) program will have the opportunity to attend up to two years (72 semester credits) of college without paying any tuition or fees out of pocket. The MECC AIMS Higher Scholarships are funded by the Virginia Tobacco Commission and donors to the MECC Foundation.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the requirements to qualify for the MECC AIMS Higher Scholarship?

In order to qualify for the AIMS Scholarship, a high school student must meet all of the following requirements by the date of high school graduation:

  • Achieve grades of at least a “C” or better in each of the required high school courses
    • The required high school courses include:
      • 4 credits of English
      • 4 credits of Mathematics (Algebra I plus three additional higher mathematics courses)
      • 3 credits of Lab Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science)
      • 3 credits of Social Studies (History, Government, Geography, Economics)
      • 2 credits of a single Foreign Language OR 2 credits of Technical Courses in the same track
      • 1 computer related course
  • Maintain a 95% school attendance rate from grades 9-12. (No more than 36 days missed)
  • Have no out of school suspensions
  • Complete 20 verified hours of community service before high school graduation
  • Students enrolled in courses (or working on community service requirements) that are required for AIMS during their final semester of high school will be confirmed eligible/not eligible upon review of your final transcript.
  • Complete the online AIMS/MECC Scholarship application at www.mecc.edu/scholarships.
  • Enroll at MECC beginning with the Fall semester immediately following high school graduation and maintain enrollment each Fall and Spring semester until completion of the AIMS program
  • For AIMS Scholars who graduated high school prior to 2017, you must maintain a 2.0 cumulative and a 2.0 semester GPA for each semester of attendance. For AIMS Scholars graduating high school in 2017, you must maintain a 2.25 cumulative and a 2.25 semester GPA for each semester of attendance.
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov for each academic year. 

How can a student apply for AIMS?

MECC AIMS Higher Scholarship applications are accepted each year from January through May. In addition to the completion of the scholarship application (available at http://www.mecc.edu/scholarships), AIMS scholars must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) listing the MECC School Code (009629) each year. The deadline to complete the FAFSA is May 1.  Scholarship awards are only final upon certification by the high school guidance counselor that all AIMS Scholars program requirements have been met by the day of high school graduation. Failure to submit the FAFSA by the deadline in any future year will void eligibility for scholarship renewal.

What if I receive other financial aid?

The AIMS Scholarship is designed to guarantee that an AIMS Scholar will not have to pay any tuition or fees while completing their degree at MECC. This is done by filling in “gaps” that regular financial aid does not cover. Financial situations are different for each student. Some common examples of how AIMS works for different students are noted below:

Example 1: A student does not qualify for any federal/state aid based on their FAFSA application. This student is considered a “no need” student. In this situation, the student would have to pay all tuition/fees out of pocket while attending MECC if they do not have the AIMS Scholarship. Because the student is an AIMS Scholar, the scholarship will pay 100% of the student’s tuition and fees as long as the student maintains eligibility requirements. The student will purchase books with personal funds.

Tuition/Fees = $1668.00 for 12 semester credits
Federal/State Aid Available Based on FAFSA = $0.00
Amount paid by the AIMS Scholarship = $1668.00
Amount refunded to student mid-term = $0.00

Example 2: A student qualifies for full federal/state aid based on their FAFSA application. This student is considered a “high need” student. In this situation, a student will receive enough federal and state aid to cover their tuition, fees and most likely their books. They will even have funds remaining after all of those expenses are covered. The remaining balance is refunded to the student approximately mid-way through the semester. Because the AIMS Scholar has received enough aid to cover their tuition/fees, the AIMS Scholarship will not add any additional funds. The student will remain coded as an AIMS Scholar for tracking purposes in order to receive the scholarship upon transfer to UVA-Wise. The student will receive enough federal/state aid to purchase books.

Tuition/Fees = $1668.00 for 12 semester credits
Federal/State Aid Available Based on FAFSA = $3000.00
Amount paid by the AIMS Scholarship = $0.00
Amount refunded to student mid-term = $1332.00 – cost of books charged at MECC bookstore

Example 3: A student qualifies for some federal/state aid but not enough to cover full tuition and fees based on their FAFSA application. The AIMS Scholarship will cover the difference in the cost of tuition/fees and the amount of federal/state aid received. The student will purchase books with personal funds.

Tuition/Fees = $1668.00 for 12 semester credits
Federal/State Aid Available Based on FAFSA = 1000.00
Amount paid by the AIMS Scholarship = $668.00
Amount refunded to student mid-term = $0.00

What if I receive other scholarships?

MECC Scholarships
If a student receives an MECC Foundation Scholarship, this is considered to be an internal award and the scholarship funds will be used to cover the student’s tuition and fees before the AIMS funds from the Tobacco Commission will be utilized. If a student’s tuition and fees have been covered by federal/state/Foundation funds and there is any surplus remaining, the student will receive a refund check mid-term.

Tuition/Fees = $1668.00 for 12 semester credits
Federal/State Aid Available Based on FAFSA = $1000.00
MECC Scholarship award received = $250.00/semester ($500.00 annual award)
Amount paid by the AIMS Scholarship = $418.00
Amount refunded to student mid-term = $0.00

External Scholarships
At present time, students who receive external scholarships in addition to AIMS will not see a deduction in their AIMS award based on the scholarship. For example, if a student receives a $500 scholarship from a local agency, the funds will be placed in the student’s financial aid account. The student’s tuition/fees will be covered by federal/state/AIMS funds. The student will still need to purchase their books out of pocket. The $500 scholarship funds will be split between fall and spring terms ($250/each semester) and the student will receive a refund check for the scholarship amount mid-semester.

Example 1:
Tuition/Fees = $1668.00 for 12 semester credits
Federal/State Aid Available Based on FAFSA = $1000.00
External Scholarship award received = $250.00/semester ($500.00 annual award)
Amount paid by the AIMS Scholarship = $668.00
Amount refunded to student mid-term = $250.00

Example 2:
Tuition/Fees = $1668.00 for 12 semester credits
Federal/State Aid Available Based on FAFSA = $3000.00
External Scholarship award received = $250.00/semester ($500.00 annual award)
Amount paid by the AIMS Scholarship = $0.00
Amount refunded to student mid-term = $1582.00 – cost of books charged at MECC bookstore

Does AIMS cover book costs?

No. The AIMS Scholarship only guarantees that the student will not pay any tuition or fees. Students are still responsible for book costs. Some students may qualify for a sufficient amount of federal and state aid to assist with book costs. In addition, students receiving external scholarships (non-MECC Foundation scholarships) may use those funds to assist with book costs. 

What if my GPA falls below the required GPA as specified above?

Once the student has failed to meet the requirements for the AIMS Scholarship, the student is no longer eligible to receive the scholarship at MECC or UVA-Wise. There is no appeal process for the AIMS Scholarship.

How long do I have AIMS eligibility at MECC?

An AIMS Scholar is eligible for up to

  • 72 credit hours
  • 3 years
  • OR

  • Completion of 1st Associate’s Degree (whichever comes first)

Does AIMS cover summer classes?

AIMS scholars are currently eligible for funds during the Summer term. Summer coverage is subject to change year to year based on available funds. Students who are AIMS Scholars and who attend summer classes are still required to maintain the required semester and cumulative GPA requirements during summer term to maintain the scholarship.

Can AIMS funds be used to cover classes at another school?

No, the MECC AIMS funding can only be utilized at MECC.

I plan to transfer to UVA-Wise as an AIMS Scholar. What should I know?

In order to transfer to UVA-Wise with the AIMS Scholar, a student must be in an Associate of Arts & Sciences program of study. Only AA&S transfer degree students are eligible for the AIMS Scholarship at UVA-Wise. For additional information and to confirm your degree eligibility for transfer to UVA-Wise, please contact the Career and Transfer Counselor in MECC’s Office of Student Services at 276.523.2400 ext. 434.

Is the AIMS Scholarship transferable to schools other than UVA-Wise?

No. At present time, UVA-Wise is the only partner school for the AIMS Scholarship

Does the AIMS Scholarship pay both tuition and fees at UVA-Wise once I have completed my transfer degree at MECC and am ready to transfer?

No. The AIMS Scholars program at UVA-Wise covers tuition only. For additional information about the AIMS program at UVA-Wise, please contact the UVA-Wise Admissions Office.

Who can I contact for additional questions regarding the AIMS Scholarship?

Please contact the MECC Recruiter at 276.523.2400 ext. 434.