Financial Aid & Affordability

Affordability is the most common reason students believe college is out of reach. However, students are awarded over $150 billion every year to help make college an achievable reality for all.

Students applying for financial aid will typically receive three types of aid:

  • Scholarships and Grants are gifts that students do not need to repay. Funds often come from state or federal grants, or from donors, to acknowledge students' past achievements or talents, academic potential or financial need.
  • Loans are funds that students borrow from the federal government or private lenders that must be repaid when students are finished with school. Repayment usually begins 6 months after the student graduates, withdraws, or drops below full-time status.
  • Work Study is a government-sponsored program through which students may earn funds for college by working a limited number of hours in a job on or off campus. Jobs are usually 10-20 hours per week, but are not guaranteed funds. Students must apply for jobs on their own and commit to working in order to receive their work study funds.

Washtenaw Futures' Community Champions offer assistance with the following resources below:

  1. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  2. Michigan Office of Student Scholarships and Grants (SSG)
  3. Tuition Incentive Program (TIP)
  4. Local Scholarships
  5. College and University Scholarships

1.) Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): 

The first step to accessing state scholarships, state and federal grants, and low-interest federal student loans is filing the FAFSA. Many colleges also require students to file the FAFSA to access grants and scholarships specific to that school. 


We recommend that all students file the FAFSA every year of college.  The FAFSA is available every year on October 1 at All federal money awarded based on first-come, first-served, so file as soon as possible.

Students and parents should work together to file the FAFSA.

Need help with the FAFSA? Contact your local high school counselor or reach out to Washtenaw Community College or Eastern Michigan University. WCC and EMU's Offices of Financial Aid are available to help all Washtenaw students who need assistance with the FAFSA.

Did you know? When you apply for your FAFSA, select the school year you plan to enroll in college as your application year. For example, if you are a high school senior graduating in June 2017 and plan to go to college right away, you will file your 2017-2018 FAFSA. You should file your FAFSA for the school year you will be attending college.

2.) Michigan Office of Student Scholarships and Grants (SSG):

SSG manages the following Michigan's scholarship and grant programs:

  • Children of Veterans Tuition Grant
  • GEAR UP College Day Scholarship & GEAR UP Michigan Scholarship
  • Michigan Competitive Scholarship
  • Michigan Tuition Grant
  • Police and Fire Fighter's Survivors Tuition Grant
  • Fostering Futures Scholarship
  • Tuition Incentive Program (see below)

Click here for more information about these scholarships and grants.

SSG also provides a free guidebook on "Affording College in Michigan."

3.) Tuition Incentive Program (TIP):

TIP is an incentive program that encourages eligible students to complete high school by providing tuition assistance for the first two years of college and beyond.

A student must have (or have had) Medicaid coverage for 24 months within a 36-consecutive month period as identified by the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS).

TIP provides assistance in two phases:

  • Phase I covers tuition and mandatory fee charges for eligible students enrolled in a credit-based associate degree or minimum one year certificate program at a participating Michigan community college, public university, degree-granting independent college, federal tribally-controlled college, or Focus: HOPE.
  • Phase II provides a maximum of $2,000 total tuition assistance for credits earned in a four-year program at an in-state, degree-granting college or university. 

For more information about TIP and which colleges accept TIP scholarships, click here.

To find out if your student is eligible for TIP, please contact your high school counselor.

4.) Local Scholarships:

Various agencies across Washtenaw County offer scholarships for local students:

Additional scholarships may be available from your local Rotary Club, Lions Club, Jaycees, Kiwanis Club, or even your high school! Contact your high school counselor for other potential scholarship opportunities.

If you would like to add a scholarship opportunity available for students in Washtenaw County to our website, please contact our coordinator.

5.) College and University Scholarships:

Individual colleges and universities often have scholarship applications available for students on their Office of Financial Aid websites. Check them out for additional scholarship opportunities!