In the wake of a few stories we had published here, and here, it was reported to us that even more universities are beginning to respond to rising tuition burdens. State schools across the country are responding to rising tuition costs by individually beginning a free tuition program to those who qualify.
Notably, the fine people in the maize and blue over at The University of Michigan are the latest to present their students with a free tuition plan; the “Go Blue Guarantee.” Launching next January, the plan will guarantee students from a family with income below $65,000 a year free tuition for up to four years.
“Today, our long-standing commitment to ensuring that qualified students from Michigan can afford a U-M education becomes a guarantee,” said U-M President Mark Schlissel.
A Free Tuition Program Can Eliminate Complexities
Schlissel states that the guarantee eliminates many of the complexities of the financial aid process. If a family of an accepted student qualifies, the student pays no tuition, it’s as simple as that.
“I have always believed that talent is ubiquitous in our society, but opportunity most certainly is not,” Schlissel said. “The ‘Go Blue Guarantee’ helps us ensure wider opportunity.”
The administrators at Michigan say that the new aid package is a way it can help meet the financial needs of in-state students who have the grades to attend the university but not the money. The school says the program is not taking any money away from existing financial aid packages, just adding a new niche to its process.
The “Go Blue Guarantee” will be available to students whose families fall within the income limits, and also are below a certain net worth threshold. Qualifying students also may be eligible for additional aid to cover non-tuition costs.
New York’s free tuition program
Furthermore, In April, New York announced its own free tuition plan. The state legislature approved funding to provide free tuition to students attending CUNY and SUNY, as long as their families earn less than $100,000 a year.
Qualifying students must attend school full-time and average 30 credits each year, including summer and winter classes. They will also be required to maintain a passing grade point average to be eligible for free tuition.
There is an additional condition as well. Upon ending their education, they will be required to live and work in the state for the same number of years they received the financial aid.
The financial aid program called the “Excelsior Scholarship” will be available to students starting school this fall, as long as their families make under $100,000 per year. The income threshold will increase to $110,000 in 2018 and $125,000 in 2019.
According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees for the 2016–2017 school year was $9,650 for in-state students across the U.S.