BIG RAPIDS – The economic challenges facing Michigan students today has led to an increase in the number of students who qualify to receive benefits from the Tuition Incentive Program, an initiative sponsored by the Michigan Office of Scholarships and Grants that provides tuition assistance for needy students.
Divided into two phases, students qualify for the program based upon the following criteria: be a Medicaid recipient for 24 of the past 36 months, graduate high school or obtain a GED before age 20, and be a Michigan resident and United States citizen. Phase I of the program provides tuition assistance for the first two years of college, or 80 credits, as a student works to earn an associate degree. Phase II provides $500 per semester for a student’s third and fourth years of college as (s)he continues schooling to earn a bachelor’s degree.
At Ferris State University, officials have seen the number of Tip recipients attending the university increase from just fewer than 600 in fall 2008 to more than 700 in fall 2009.
“I believe the rise in TIP students over all is largely because of Michigan’s challenging economy, which means that more high school students meet the qualification of being on Medicaid,” Ferris’ TIP coordinator Felice Kelley-Nelson said. “TIP is a great program that helps students continue their education.”
Ferris Director of Financial Aid Rob Wirt also believes the university’s wide mix of associate degree programs uniquely position the college to offer career options for TIP students.
“What’s unique about Ferris is we offer those associate degrees and we have a lot of consortium agreements with various community colleges across Michigan,” he said. “We’re also identifying students a lot earlier and doing a great job of informing them of what this program is and how it can positively impact them as they continue their college education.”
Wirt also emphasized that Ferris has committed an additional $900,000 to assisting students from families that have experienced economic hardship and qualified for additional Pell Grant monies. Through a special appeals process, 394 Ferris students have received additional financial aid.
For more information about TIP, contact Kelley-Nelson at (231) 591-2400. Speak with a Financial Aid representative by calling (231) 591-2000.