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Wayne State launches free tuition program to lower-income students

Wayne State University

Wayne State University. (Shutterstock photo by Susan Montgomery)

  • Wayne State announces a tuition-free guarantee for some new students on Monday
  • Students whose families earn $70,000 per year or less are eligible
  • Program possible because state scholarship program that offers up to $5,500 a year to students attending a public four-year university

Starting this fall, Wayne State University will offer first-year students with family incomes of $70,000 or less a tuition-free college education.

The Wayne State Guarantee means eligible students' full cost of tuition and standard fees will be paid through a combination of federal, state and other university scholarships and grants.


On Monday, Wayne State formally announced the program, which is possible because of a newly-created state scholarship program that offers up to $5,500 a year to students attending a public four-year university in Michigan.


Other schools have also created tuition-free guarantees after the creation of the Michigan Achievement Scholarship. The state scholarship also offers up to $4,000 a year to attend a private nonprofit college in Michigan or $2,750 a year to attend a community college in Michigan.  (The state scholarship does not have grade or test score requirements, it is based on a family’s income.)

Baker College, Cleary University, Olivet College, Cornerstone University have all announced tuition-free programs for students who qualify for the new state scholarship.

Here’s what to know about Wayne State’s program:

Am I eligible for free tuition at Wayne State University? 

The program has several requirements: 

  • First-time student: You must be an incoming first-year undergraduate student who is a Michigan resident. You must be admitted for fall 2023 as a first-time undergraduate student in a degree program.
  • Financial aid application: You must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your household income must be $70,000 or less and have $50,000 or less in assets. The school must receive the FAFSA by April 1, 2023, and you must be eligible to receive federal student aid. 
  • School application: You must apply for admission to Wayne State by April 1, 2023.
  • Enrollment: You must be enrolled full time each semester. This means taking at least 12 credit hours per semester. 

The funding is for fall and winter semesters. Michigan residents eligible for the federal Pell grant are also eligible for the Wayne State Guarantee.


The standard fees covered include matriculation, registration and student service fees.

How long will the program last?

A student can receive the aid for up to four years. The school said there is an option to extend it for a fifth year if the student is on track to graduate that year. 

How do I maintain eligibility?

Students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements, which includes a minimum 2.0 grade point average.

Students must also maintain full time enrollment in the fall and winter semesters, pass a minimum of 30 credits per academic year, fill out the FAFSA each year and continue to meet family income requirements. 

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