Attaining a higher education in Michigan can be a monumental undertaking for families who have a limited income. Although there are quite a few financial assistance programs offered in MI, not everyone is eligible for them. Some families will not qualify for financial aid if their income is too high, although the reality is that college is still very expensive for most families who do not qualify for financial aid. On the other hand, someone with a limited income who does qualify for financial aid still may not receive enough funding to afford a university or be able to attend the school of their choice. Instead, they must settle for a certificate or lesser degree. Scholarships are basically free money, as they are awards granted to individuals who meet the particular requirements of each scholarship. Students should look at the available scholarships early as some have deadlines that must be met before graduating from high school.
When to Apply for Scholarships in MI
Each scholarship has deadlines, some of which require very early planning. The GEAR UP College Day Scholarship, for instance, requires six years of participation in their program in order to qualify. Research each scholarship as early as possible and plan out when to apply for each. Creating a scholarship calendar will benefit students greatly.
Where to Find Scholarships in Michigan
The first place to start looking for scholarships is by visiting the high school guidance office. The guidance counselors should have information not only on Student Scholarships and Grants (SSG) issued by the Michigan Department of Treasury, but also for federal scholarships and those offered by local civic groups and businesses. Searching on the internet for scholarships can be risky as there are scammers waiting to lure students into paying for possible applications. Student scholarship applications are free, so be on the lookout for such scams. Using the Michigan student aid website is free and safe to use.
Available Scholarships in Michigan
There are several state run scholarships available in Michigan. These programs are administered by the Student Scholarships and Grants (SSG) office under the Michigan Student Aid division. The three scholarships listed below are such programs:
Fostering Futures Scholarship
The Fostering Futures Scholarship is one of the state programs in Michigan intended to help individuals attain higher education. Only youth who have experienced foster care due to abuse or neglect are eligible for this particular program. The scholarship funds are paid directly to the institute to be attended by the student to be applied toward room and board, fees and tuition or supplies and books. It is the responsibility of the student to submit an application each year during open enrollment. The scholarship is dependent on the student meeting additional criteria and available funding.
Michigan Competitive Scholarship
The Michigan Competitive Scholarship (MCS) program was created in order to encourage students to pursue post-secondary education. It is only awarded to students who are seeking their first degree at approved post-secondary schools in Michigan. Students need to demonstrate financial need as well as meet merit requirements, including SAT scores of 1200 or greater to qualify for this opportunity. Only by meeting these and additional requirements can a student be approved for this scholarship program.
GEAR UP College Day Scholarship
Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) is a program designed to increase the number of low-income students who not only enter, but actually succeed in post-secondary education. To meet eligibility requirements, the student must have participated in the Gear Up College Day (GUCD) six-year program, be younger than 22 years of age and be eligible for a Pell Grant to demonstrate financial need. The student must be nominated by a GUCD partner who must place nominees in ranking order. The GEAR UP College Day Scholarship is awarded based on rank and funds available in a given year.
Scholarships and Financial Assistance in MI
Students who apply for financial assistance can also apply for scholarships. Need-based scholarships, which are based on financial needs, often have a prerequisite of a student demonstrating financial need by applying for financial aid prior to applying for the scholarship. If any financial aid is granted, the student will need to inform the financial aid office of any scholarships that are subsequently granted.