Michigan Student Loans
Michigan is home to two peninsulas, four Great Lakes, three big automobile companies, and 93 colleges and universities. We’ve compiled information about Michigan student loans to help you if you’re planning on going to school in the Wolverine state.
Higher Education in Michigan
Schools in Michigan offer a wide range of settings and specializations – urban and rural, vocational and research, public and private. In its 2013 list of the “Top 25 Best Midwest Colleges”, Forbes magazine included three Michigan-based institutions, saying that it should come as no surprise that the top public school in the region was still the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
As one of the best public universities in America, 25 percent of the University of Michigan undergraduates had a 4.0 high school GPA. The school has over 41,000 students and 200 different major programs. Founded in 1817, 20 years before Michigan even became one of the United States, the University of Michigan is renowned for its focus on research. The late President Gerald Ford was a University of Michigan alumni, and 26 Rhodes Scholars have graduated from the university.
The nationally recognized Study Abroad program sends 85 percent of Kalamazoo’s students overseas, and Kalamazoo produces more Peace Corps students than any other college or university in America. It is the 22nd ranked school in the United States for all colleges and universities for students ultimately earning a PhD in the fields of biology, chemistry, and foreign languages. A private school, Kalamazoo College is one of the 100 oldest institutions in the country, being founded in 1833.
With close upon 50,000 students in its home of East Lansing, Michigan State University is one of the top public universities in the United States. It is known as a “Public Ivy,” providing an Ivy League experience for its students, but at the cost of a regular public school (in MSU’s case, $12,863 for in-state students). The school has the largest study abroad program in the United States, a selective acceptance rate of 70.6 percent, and a number of sporting titles and championships in the fields of basketball, football, ice hockey, and cross country skiing.
A couple of other institutions of note in Michigan include:
- Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan, was ranked one of the “Best in the Midwest” colleges by the Princeton Review. The school’s undergraduate program (based on feedback from peers and students, as well as financial factors) was positively singled out by US News & World Report.
- Wayne State University, located in Detroit, offers undergraduates a focus on community service and research, while graduate students have their pick of programs in medicine, law, nursing, and urban policy. With a population of over 27,000 students, Wayne State is the fourth-largest school in Michigan, and one of the 100 largest in the country. Its School of Medicine is also the third-largest single-campus medical school in America. The Carnegie Foundation rated Wayne State University as a “Research Intensive University,” a similar classification also bestowed upon Harvard University and Stanford University.
- The WMU Charter Township of Kalamazoo Scholarship is intended for high school graduates who live in the township of Kalamazoo and who apply for an undergraduate degree at Western Michigan University (also in Kalamazoo, Michigan). Residents who have attended high schools in Kalamazoo since kindergarten are eligible to have 100 percent of their tuition covered by the scholarships, while the figure drops to 65 percent for residents who attended Kalamazoo high schools since 9th grade.
- The Albert C. Dames Scholarship awards $2,500 to entering freshmen at the University of Michigan. Students with “high academic achievement” who can demonstrate financial need are encouraged to apply. The scholarship is also awarded to students entering Wayne State University.
- With Michigan State University having the largest study abroad program in the United States, the school offers scholarships to incentivize students to take advantage of the opportunity. The Benschop International Enrichment Award helps ease the burden of travel expenses for Honors College members, who have to write a 1,000 word essay on their intentions and goals with the study abroad program and how they anticipate this will enrich their MSU experience.
- Students who have graduated from any public high school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, are eligible to apply for the Grand Rapids Community Foundation Hackett Family Scholarship, which offers rewards to undergraduates attending any accredited college or university. The scholarship is primarily intended for women of color. The Grand Rapids Community Foundation also offers a number of other scholarships for residents of Kent County, Michigan, with a particular focus on minorities (like the Arts Council of Greater Grand Rapids Minority Scholarship, which rewards students of color attending a non-profit university, majoring in Fine Arts, and demonstrating financial need).
Available Student Loans in Michigan
If you decide to borrow money via a student loan to finance your education in Michigan, there are a number of reputable lenders offering loan programs. For example, the University of Michigan cites the following providers as having loaned money to its students for the 2012-2013 academic year.
- The TruFit Student Loan from Citizens Bank offers fixed or variable interest rates, with the possibility of 0.25 percent reductions if certain qualifications are met. Borrowing limits are increased for graduate, law, or medical students. Citizens Bank allows you to start paying their loan back immediately, to pay only the interest while you are in school, or to only start paying six months after you graduate. To qualify for the loan, you must be an eligible U.S. resident, have good credit or a co-signer, and be enrolled at least half-time in a program that culminates in a degree.
- Discover Student Loans are offered by one of the largest student loan companies in the United States. One of the incentives available is a 1 percent cash reward on each new student loan for achieving a 3.0 GPA, making Discover Student Loans one of the few private student loans to reward good grades.
- While the two providers above offer student loans nationally, Fifth Third Bank (with locations in Michigan and other neighboring states) may be more familiar and accessible to students looking for a local touch to their loans. Their Bar Study Loan covers bar exam costs not provided for by federal government loans, such as living expenses and bar exam fees. Fifth Third also has loans for medical and dental students who would need to relocate to take up residency. The bank will pay for transportation costs so students can get to their interviews, as well as general moving costs that are not covered by government loans.
- If small, local lenders are up your alley, then Lake Trust Credit Union may be for you. Headquartered in Lansing, Lake Trust Credit Union is a member of the Credit Union Student Choice program, which offers loans that start at $1,000 and can cover as much as $75,000 over the course of your college career. If your balance is under $40,000, you have 20 years to pay off the loan (25 years if that balance is greater than $40,000). Students have to be enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking program, and the money can be applied against the tuition of most of Michigan’s colleges and universities.
Financial Aid and In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition
Michigan offers different tuition rate for local residents than it does to those students who have moved to the state for school. Michigan State University, for example, charges $12,863 for Michigan residents, and $33,750 for out of state students. US News & World Report compares the campus fees at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; fees are $13,819 for local students and $40,496 for non-residents.
Similarly, scholarships directly offered by the state of Michigan (such as the Michigan Competitive Scholarship, which is available to undergraduate students pursuing their first degree at an institution in Michigan for an award of $676 per academic year) require that students have been residing in the state for a year prior to filing their application. The same limitation applies to some more specific scholarships, like the Police Officer and Firefighter Survivor’s Tuition Grant, which provides a tuition waiver at a public university in Michigan for the children of a member of Michigan’s law enforcement or emergency services, whose parent died in the line of duty. In addition to meeting other criteria regarding age and previous academic achievements, applicants must have been living in Michigan for a year before filing for the grant.
On the other hand, Michigan State University offers scholarships for out-of-state students, such as the Arthur C. and Lois D. Kittleson Endowed Scholarship, where preference is given to non-Michigan residents who are majoring in pre-medicine or education, and who can demonstrate academic achievement and financial need. There is also the University Scholars Award for students who are out of state and who do not qualify for the Honors College but have a high school GPA of 3.5 or above and a SAT score of 1100. The award is worth $8,000 per year, and it can be renewed for a total of 8 semesters.
Students from specific states may also qualify for certain scholarships. In line with MSU’s strong study abroad program, the university also offers a limited number of grants to “academically talented” international students.
Finding Financial Aid in Michigan
Michigan promises a great educational experience, and there are a number of loans and scholarships you can use to ease the financial burden of a world-class education. Trying to wrap your head around the entire process can be challenging but we are here to help. Use the resources on our site to help you understand what goes into studying and paying for an education in Michigan.