U-M offering free tuition for families making $65K or less

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An incredible offer from the University of Michigan providing some students tuition for free.

It is called the 'Go Blue Guarantee' and it will save families a lot of green. And although it may not go hand in hand, students at the University of Michigan campus here in Ann Arbor believe the new program will also improve diversity.

It's the first of its kind at a university in the state of Michigan, according to U of M The Go Blue Guarantee program will pay for the cost of tuition for students who come from a household that makes $65,000 or less a year.

It's important to mention that this new program doesn't cover the cost of room and board, books or other expenses, but it is still a big help.

"I think there is a perception in Ann Arbor that too many of the undergraduate students come from very wealthy families," said Ashley Yuill. "So hearing the university is working to increase access for students who may be from lower income households who might face more challenges to get a quality higher education is really exciting."

The program approved Thursday afternoon during a meeting with the University's Board of Regents.

Shauna Diggs says in spite of the financial aid the university has given to students, the board hasn't seen the number of applications they would expect. Therefore, if you have the grades and test scores, the school wants to do everything it can to have you here.

"Part of that is this impression that you can't afford to be here," said Shauna Diggs, board of regents. "But people can, and now I think people will know that. We are committed to access."

"You do the work," said Denise Ilitch, board of regents. "We have so many talented students here, you can come to the University of Michigan."

Right now, this applies to the Ann Arbor campus only, and the goal is to make this a long term program, but who will pay for it?

"It comes from a financial aid budget which we've been growing over the course of a decade at double digit rates," said Mark Schlissel, university president. "We're at the tail end of a billion dollar fundraising campaign targeting financial. Our alumni donors have been extremely generous."

The university is confident this will benefit families from all walks of life who simply don't have the financial means to bear the expenses of a college education.

"That of course affects our families in Detroit, Grand Rapids, families in the upper peninsula who are below that threshold," said Kedra Ishop, VP for enrollment management. "Half the families in Michigan."

And again, many students want more diversity, and this program could help that cause.

"I think that's a big problem at this school, diversity. I don't think there is a lot of fair representation around here, and we could do a lot better," said student Brendon Barrett.

The program will go into effect at the start of 2018, and it will impact 3000 undergraduate students who are currently enrolled.