Wayne State to offer free tuition to low-income Michigan students

Wayne State University approves 4.1 percent tuition increase
Posted at 9:11 AM, Mar 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-13 18:14:35-04

(WXYZ) — Wayne State University will begin offering free college to low-income Michigan students, the latest free schooling program offered by the university.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined Wayne State officials on Monday morning to announce the new initiative, which is part of the Michigan Achievement Scholarship Program signed by Whitmer last year.

According to the governor's office, the free tuition at Wayne State will be offered to Michigan students who have family incomes of $70,000 or less. There will also be zero out-of-pocket expenses.

This is the latest program aimed at making higher education free or more affordable in Michigan. Wayne State also offers a Heart of Detroit tuition pledge, which offers free tuition for Detroit high school students or Detroit residents earning a high school diploma.

“Students in Michigan deserve the opportunity to receive quality, affordable higher education,” Whitmer said in a statement. “I’m proud to work with universities across the state to lower the cost of college for Michigan students and help them gain the skills to be prepared for the new and expanding businesses coming to the state. Last year, almost half of first-year students at Wayne State University had zero out-of-pocket expenses, with this initiative, the university is offering that opportunity to even more students.”

“When we invest in students, we invest in Michigan’s future,” Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist added in a statement. “The Wayne State Guarantee will be a game changer for Michigan students, helping them get a high-quality education with zero out-of-pocket expenses. The best path to a higher quality of life and higher income is getting a degree. The Guarantee will help us grow economic opportunity for Michiganders and achieve our Sixty by 30 goal to get 60% of Michiganders a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2030. Governor Whitmer and I will keep working hard to help every student achieve their dreams and get a great education.”

“Wayne State has a long history of being a university of access and opportunity, and now our commitment to making a college degree affordable comes in the form of a guarantee,” Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson said. “We are excited to expand the opportunity for an affordable, world-class education to more Warriors. We are grateful for Governor Whitmer’s leadership in establishing the Michigan Achievement Scholarship and paving the way for Michiganders to pursue tuition-free higher education.

The pledge covers tuition and standard fees like registration and student service fees and is available for up to four years.

The state also has the Michigan Reconnect Program, which allows people to attend community college tuition-free or go to a trade-school.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Be at least 25 years old when you apply
  • Have lived in Michigan for a year or more
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Have not yet completed a college degree (associate or bachelor's)

To participate in the Reconnect scholarship, you must complete four steps:

  • Apply online for Michigan Reconnect. The application takes less than five minutes to complete and can be done on a mobile phone. If you are having difficulties on your mobile device, it is recommended to use a different browser or computer. 
  • Apply to a Michigan public community college. All public community colleges, including tribal colleges, in Michigan qualify. If you're already enrolled at a public community college this step is completed.  If you're not, remember your tuition is free at an in-district community college, but that Reconnect only pays part of the tuition if you attend an out-of-district community college. See What costs does Reconnect cover?
  • Submit your FAFSA. This is free financial aid provided by the federal government.
  • Enroll in an eligible program and start classes. You must be in school at least half time and stay enrolled continuously through graduation.