Michigan Just Cut Wayne State Students a Big Break on Their Tuition

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks about the new scholarship program at Wayne State University. (Courtesy/State of Michigan)

By Kyle Kaminski

March 22, 2023

Students at Wayne State University with families earning less than $70,000 are now entitled to tuition-free education with zero out-of-pocket costs thanks to a new state scholarship program.

MICHIGAN—Thousands of recent high school graduates who were accepted to Wayne State University won’t have to pay a dime for their college tuition thanks to the bipartisan Michigan Achievement Scholarship program, which was signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year.

The newly unveiled program—dubbed the “Wayne State Guarantee”—will offer all incoming freshmen (with family incomes of $70,000 or less) the ability to earn a tuition-free degree, ultimately saving them about $60,000 on the cost of their four-year college education.

“When we invest in students, we invest in Michigan’s future,” Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II said in a statement.  “The Wayne State Guarantee will be a game changer for Michigan students. The best path to a higher quality of life and higher income is getting a degree.”

About half of all incoming freshmen at Wayne State are expected to be eligible for tuition assistance. University President Roy Wilson told the Detroit News that the goal is to make Wayne State the nation’s top research university for social mobility, which is the difference between the income of a student’s family and how much they earn after they leave college.

Who’s eligible for the Wayne State Guarantee?

Incoming first-year undergraduate students who are Michigan residents and have been admitted by April 1 to attend Wayne State this fall as a first-time undergraduate in a degree program. Eligible students must have a family income of $70,000 or less, and total assets of $50,000 or less. They must also be enrolled full time at WSU with at least 12 credit hours per semester. 

What does it cover?

The Wayne State Guarantee will cover the full cost of tuition and fees through a combination of federal, state and other university scholarships and grants. The award is renewable for up to four years—with an option to apply for a fifth year if the student is still on track to graduate. 

A large portion of the scholarship money will be provided through the Michigan Achievement Scholarship program. Those are renewable for up to three years at a community college and up to five years at a private college or public university, for a total maximum award of $27,500. 

Whitmer signed legislation for the program last year as part of her administration’s “Sixty by 30” goal of having 60% of Michigan adults with a skill certificate or college degree by 2030. 

She has also reportedly encouraged all state universities to work with state officials to create similar tuition assistance programs—much like other scholarships that have already been rolled out at Northern and Eastern Michigan universities, and the University of Michigan

“Students in Michigan deserve the opportunity to receive quality, affordable higher education,” Whitmer said in a release announcing the new program at Wayne State. “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.” 


  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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