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Michigan Achievement Scholarship link goes live

Will Folsom
Creative Commons Http://Michrad.Io/1LXrdJM

A website with information about a new state scholarship available to high school students graduating in 2023 and beyond is now live.

Depending on need and the type of college or university they attend, students could receive thousands in annual aid.

Robin Lott is the director of the state’s Postsecondary Financial Planning office within the Department of Treasury. She said families need to complete the Free Application For Federal Student Aid, commonly known as “FAFSA,” to find out if they’re eligible and how much they could benefit.

“They’re not going to know until they go out there. Now, there is a financial aid calculator that we’re going to place on the website real soon here so families can go out and take a look and try to see specifically for their situation how that might fit,” Lott said.

Students attending a community college could get up to $2,750 each year. Public university students could qualify for $5,500 annually. Meanwhile, those who attend a private institution could gain up to $4,000 per year.

Higher education advocates are using the scholarships as one more reason for families to fill out their FAFSA. There’s no separate application beyond FAFSA needed for the scholarship.

Daniel Hurley is the CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities. He said the size and scale of the program sets it apart from existing state scholarships.

“The state has ranked pretty poorly nationally when it comes to state investment in financial aid but that very much was wiped away with the $250 million investment, bipartisan, in the Michigan Achievement Scholarship. And it is going to have a big impact on college affordability,” Hurley said.

That dollar figure came in the state’s most recently passed budget. A bill signed into law last month detailed the new scholarship.

Lott said the state already offers several options to help make college more affordable for students, adding universities themselves often offer scholarship opportunities too. But she pointed out more investment is always welcome.

“It’s a win-win. So, you have a higher educated population, you can do great things in this state. Especially at this critical time,” Lott said.

When asked why scholarships would be a better way to go rather than lowering the cost of tuition itself, Hurley explained the cost is tied to state investment.

“There’s two revenue streams. One is tuition, the other is state support. And the state has disinvested over a billion dollars in Michigan higher education over the last 20 years,” Hurley said.

He said the new scholarship will help the situation.