When Michigan students apply for financial aid, they go through a specific process. The crucial step is to complete and file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible. The FAFSA is used by all colleges to determine eligibility for state and federal financial aid, as well as the Expected Family Contribution.
The FAFSA can’t be filed until October 1, but it has to be finished and submitted before the priority deadline date for the college. The FAFSA must be completed for every year a student is in school.
Once that is completed, students can search for other types of funding like scholarships and grants.
To determine how much aid you need, research the annual cost of attendance for the schools you’re applying to. The cost of attendance includes tuition as well as fees, housing, living expenses, books, and supplies. Then, determine how much you or your family can contribute. With the average cost of college rising, it is important to consider all financial aid options.
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Michigan Student Loans
Federal and state student loans are available throughout the country. And many banks and credit unions provide private student loans to Michigan residents.
Often, federal and state loans are better in terms of offering consumer protections. Although students may still need private loans to cover gaps in funding their education.
For student loans in Michigan, a good starting point is the Higher Education Student Loan Programs. The Michigan Finance Authority (MFA) has provided federally guaranteed and private loans. Since 1975, the Michigan Finance Authority has offered services to individuals with student debt including servicing, oversight, delinquency prevention, rehabilitation, and default resolution. The MFA is no longer issuing new Michigan student loans, but continues to provide repayment assistance to borrowers of Federal Family Education Loans and Michigan Alternative Student Loan Programs.
For private student loans, options are available through organizations like Michigan First Credit Union. Michigan First Credit Union is a not-for-profit, co-op financial institution that provides loans for more than 2,000 schools in Michigan and across the U.S.
Loans from Michigan First and other financial organizations do have rigid repayment requirements. If a student defaults on repaying the loan, there are fewer options available to them than there are with federal student loans.
Some of the many Michigan scholarships available include (Click an option to learn more):
- A.C. “Kate” & Leo Joseph Merlone Teaching Scholarship
- CAC/Robert L. Viera Community Service Scholarship
- Iles Family Conservation Scholarship
- Karen George Chicago Speech Therapy Scholarship
- Women Giving To Women Scholarship
Michigan scholarships are available to students from different academic backgrounds. They’re considered “gifted funding” because they don’t need to be repaid. Thousands of scholarships are available through schools, employers, private companies, nonprofits, religious organizations, and professional and social groups.
Some scholarships in Michigan are based on merit, meaning the student has to meet a certain set of academic standards. Others might be for members of particular groups or organizations.
To find scholarships, students can search online, using our scholarship search tool. They can also contact any groups or organizations that members of their family might belong to. Students can also reach out to the school they plan to attend, or talk to their high school guidance counselor.
A.C. “Kate” & Leo Joseph Merlone Teaching Scholarship
This scholarship is for students who are going to be pursuing undergraduate or graduate studies in education full time. Applicants should have a minimum 3.0 GPA, and they should be attending a Michigan college or university. The deadline is February 15, 2019. Funding amounts vary.
CAC/Robert L. Viera Community Service Scholarship
This scholarship is for students who have a financial need, are African-American Saginaw County residents, and who will be studying education or human services. Applicants should have a minimum 2.5 GPA, and the deadline is February 15, 2019. The scholarship awards vary.
Iles Family Conservation Scholarship
As with the other scholarships above, the amount of this award varies. It’s given to students who are actively interested in environmental issues. While not a formal requirement, preference is given to residents of Saginaw County. Applicants should have a minimum 3.5 GPA. The application deadline is also February 15, 2019.
Karen George Chicago Speech Therapy Scholarship
This scholarship is available to any student who is from the Midwest or who will be attending school in the Midwest. It’s for students who are accepted and currently enrolled in a graduate-level speech-language pathology program. The award amount is $2,500. The deadline to apply is May 1, 2019.
Women Giving To Women Scholarship
This scholarship is for women currently enrolled part- or full-time at an accredited university or college. Applicants should have a minimum 2.5 GPA and should have already completed at least 45 semester hours at an accredited university or college. The application deadline is February 15, 2019.
Michigan College Grants
Some of the Michigan college grants available for students include:
A grant is similar to a scholarship in that it doesn’t have to be repaid. However unlike scholarships, grants are usually disbursed by the state or federal government, rather than a private organization like a company or a nonprofit. Grant awards are typically need-based, while scholarships can be need-based or merit-based.
To apply for Michigan college grants, students should fill out the FAFSA first. Then, with financial aid award letters from colleges you’ve been accepted to, you may receive information about grant eligibility. Many grants are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.
The Michigan Tuition Incentive Program
TIP is a program that takes place in phases. Phase I requires students enter college within four years of high school graduation. It covers tuition and fees for associates’ degrees and certificate-granting programs. Phase II allows for tuition assistance of up to $2,000 to be applied to the completion of a four-year degree. The eligibility requirement is that students qualify for 24 months of Medicaid Coverage.
Children of Veterans Tuition Grant
This grant is for applicants ages 16 to 26. The maximum annual disbursement for full-time students is $2,800. Over the course of four years, participants may receive a maximum of $11,200. To be eligible, students need to be the natural or adopted child of the veteran sponsor. Veterans have to meet specific requirements as well, and must enroll at a Michigan school.
Michigan Tuition Grant
The state of Michigan created this and to be eligible applicants have to be attending a degree-granting institution in Michigan. The program requires students to complete the FAFSA, and it has to be submitted by July 1 for the fall semester.
There are numerous financial aid options available to students in Michigan, from scholarships and grants to federal and state-based funding programs. Be proactive when researching what’s available and make sure you meet the necessary application requirements.
Author: Ashley Sutphin
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