Deadline for Michigan low-income college aid extended due to coronavirus

Deadlines to sign up for a state aid program offering free tuition assistance for low-income high school graduates has been extended by a year due to the pandemic. (Shutterstock)

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan’s legislative leaders extended the Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) Wednesday, a program that provides free tuition at community colleges and $500 per semester toward a bachelor’s degree for qualifying low-income students in Michigan.

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must have qualified for 24 months of Medicaid coverage within a 36-consecutive month period sometime between age nine and their high school graduation. They must also be enrolled in a participating Michigan institution and have completed their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

You can see the full eligibility requirements here

Each year, many recent high school graduates lose access to TIP aid due to the August 31 application deadline. But for this year’s graduating seniors, the deadline was extended until Aug 31, 2021 in an attempt by the Michigan legislature to offset academic and financial disparities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"At a time of great uncertainty, this show of bipartisan support will help keep college within reach for Michigan's most vulnerable students," Catherine Brown, Senior Advisor for Michigan with the Institute for College Access and Success said in a news release. "We hope that this deadline can be extended permanently to ensure that all future TIP eligible students have more time to understand the aid available to them before they lose it."

Annually, TIP supports 24,000 Michigan college students with approximately $60 million a year in tuition.

"This year, with a global pandemic causing a dramatic end to the K-12 school year and a yet unknown structure for higher education in the fall, these barriers would have a devastating effect on low-income students, students of color and first-generation college-going students,” Ryan Fewins-Bliss, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network, said in a news release. “The governor in her executive order with support and leadership from the Legislature have now told students that we will support their college dreams with much more flexibility this year.”

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