University of Michigan to offer free tuition for low-income residents

The University of Michigan (U-M) will begin offering free tuition to low-income residents after the Board of Regents approved the plan this week.

The initiative is called Go Blue Guarantee, and marks another step for free tuition programs spreading across the country, notably in New York and Tennessee. Go Blue Guarantee will offer four years of free tuition. It is a last dollar program, only to be applied to students' tuition after other forms of financial like have been applied.  

See more: What you need to know about New York's free tuition program

To qualify, students must live in Michigan. Their family income must be less than $65,000 per year, with assets below a certain level. Students who are admitted to U-M and that meet the program's requirements will automatically be placed into the program. Students who currently attend U-M will also be considered.  

Go Blue Guarantee is modeled after another initiative by U-M, called High Achieving Involved Leader, which sought to simplify the financial aid process for low-income students who were high-performing, according to Interim Provost Paul Courant.

"The Go Blue Guarantee is a big win for Michigan families that want a better future, and it honors students who have worked hard to achieve their dreams," says Mark Bernstein, a U-M regent.

Mark Schlissel, president of U-M, grew emotional as he delivered the news about Go Blue Guarantee to an audience in the Michigan Union, a student life building on the school's main campus. "Now there's a whole rising generation in our state that can aspire to our great university. I'm extremely, extremely proud of that," he said. The program will officially launch on January 1, 2018, with the first award given shortly thereafter (Seltzer, Inside Higher Ed, 6/16; Slagter, MLive, 6/15).

Also see: How tuition-free community college is playing out in three states

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