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Reports from Policy Analysts

University of Michigan Offers Free Tuition for Low-Income Students

Submitted On: Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Analyst: Rozema, Robert

Beginning in January 2018, the University of Michigan will offer free tuition to low-income students from families making $65,000 or less per year. The program, entitled the Go Blue Guarantee, is designed to attract high-achieving, low-income students who might otherwise consider U of M to be unaffordable. While the University currently offers financial aid to low-income students, who comprise approximately 8 percent of the student population, the Go Blue Guarantee is based on a forthcoming study by economics professor Susan Dynarksi, whose research found that high-achieving, low-income students were more likely to apply when the university advertised to them directly.  The University of Michigan sees the Go Blue Guarantee as a means to recruit these students through the promise of a tuition-free, four-year education at a premier public university.  Critics, however, suggest that the program will do little to change the accessibility of higher education to low-income students, who are often denied admittance due to low test scores and failure to meet admission standards.

Accompanying costs for room and board and textbooks may also deter low-income students. 

Academic Level

Higher Education

State

Michigan

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