New Michigan Achievement Scholarship could help make college more accessible

The new Michigan Achievement Scholarship could provide future college students with $2,750 to $5,500 a year to help cover the cost of tuition, helping to remove financial barriers to getting a life-changing college education.

Students will be eligible for annual scholarships up to $2,750 at a community college, renewable for three years. Students will be eligible for $4,000 at a private college or university, and $5,500 at a public university, each renewable for five years.

The state has launched a website with information about the new scholarships, available to high school students graduating in 2023.

The $2,750 scholarship geared for community college students will cover much of Grand Rapids Community College’s tuition and fees. Students can potentially receive more support through federal Pell Grants, which could help students cover additional expenses, such as transportation and childcare.

Applicants must complete FAFSA

“Community colleges are proudly an affordable, accessible option for students looking for a quality education. But so many high school grads continue to face financial obstacles," says Juan Olivarez, interim president of Grand Rapids Community College. "The new Michigan Achievement Scholarship can make a college dream a reality, covering most of the cost of a full year at a community college. That’s great for students, and also strengthens our greater community and state.”

To be eligible, students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA. GRCC has a FAFSA Hotline – 616-234-4030 – with specialists available to answer questions. Students also can make appointments to connect with specialists in person, virtually, or over the phone at grcc.edu/financialaid. Specialists can be reached via email at financialaid@grcc.edu.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last month signed bipartisan legislation creating the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, supporting her Sixty by 30 goal to see 60 percent of the state’s adults earn a skill certificate or college degree by 2030. 

“For too long, high costs have been a barrier to higher education,” Whitmer says. “I am so excited that we worked across the aisle to establish the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, lowering the cost of college by thousands of dollars a year for the vast majority of graduating seniors, starting with the class of 2023. All students need to do to get their Michigan Achievement Scholarship is fill out their FAFSA. I encourage every student going to community college, private college, or a public university in Michigan to speak with their parents or guardian, get their documents together, and fill out their FAFSA to save thousands of dollars.”

Sarah Szurpicki, director of the Office of Sixty by 30, says the scholarship will make additional education possible for the majority of Michigan’s new college students.

“This scholarship is game-changing for Michigan families,” she says. “Creating more pathways to education beyond high school means creating more pathways for Michigan students, families, and businesses to succeed.”

Additional information about state financial aid opportunities is available at Michigan.gov/MIStudentAid.

 

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.