University of Michigan Has a Plan to Help Students from Low-Income Homes

free college
Students walk on the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, Mich., on Jan. 28, 2008. AP Photo/Tony Ding

There’s a trend in the U.S. that just keeps gaining steam, and we’re loving it.

Earlier this year, five states and a couple of major cities announced that they will offer free college tuition to residents.

Of course, a few individual colleges were already providing their students with the extra help — but those are primarily private institutions.

Now, however, the trend is evolving, and a public university system has jumped on board.

The University of Michigan’s Tuition Guarantee

On Thursday, the University of Michigan announced its new tuition guarantee initiative, the “Go Blue Guarantee.”

For students with a family income below $65,000, which is roughly the state’s median income, the University of Michigan will provide up to four years of free tuition.

Students may also be eligible for additional assistance that would help cover non-tuition costs, such as housing and textbooks.

Although there’s already been some controversy surrounding this announcement, the university insists this initiative will not reduce any need-based aid for students from families who make more than $65,000 annually.

“In fact, many in-state students from families earning up to $125,000 a year are awarded scholarships and grants that pay half their tuition,” university officials said in a news release.

The Big Picture

The “Go Blue Guarantee” comes on the heels of promising first-year results of the HAIL (High Achieving Involved Leader) effort, which found that “targeted communication and simplifying the aid application process for high-achieving, low-income students markedly increased the number of those students enrolling at U-M.”

The HAIL pilot program is part of the university’s larger plan to bring more diversity, equity and inclusion to the school.

U-M President Mark Schlissel seems optimistic about the initiative.

“The ‘Go Blue Guarantee’ cuts through the complexities of financial aid to help us reach talented students from all communities in our state,” he said. “I have always believed that talent is ubiquitous in our society, but opportunity most certainly is not. The ‘Go Blue Guarantee’ helps us ensure wider opportunity.”

The program will launch in January of 2018, and we’re excited to see the results — and to see more schools implement similar programs in the future.

Grace Schweizer is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder.