Washington, DC — Removing operational hurdles in Michigan’s Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) could benefit as many as 100,000 more students, according to a new report released today by The Century Foundation (TCF) and The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS). Although Michigan lags behind other Midwest states in overall grant aid to college students, the authors argue that the TIP program offers a well-targeted, promising model for other states to consider.
The number of students receiving TIP is a fraction of the total students who could likely obtain the grant if they applied. Upward of 77,000 recent Michigan high school graduates are enrolled in college and meet the Medicaid coverage requirement to be eligible for TIP, while another 26,000 are not enrolled in college but could likely claim TIP if they were. With just 24,000 students currently participating in TIP per year, this participation rate of less than a third among enrolled students indicates that millions in TIP dollars are left on the table by low-income students each year.
“The Tuition Incentive Program has made college a reality for tens of thousands of low-income students,” says Catherine Brown, TICAS Senior Advisor on Michigan and co-author of the report. “As our state faces twin crises on college affordability and shrinking enrollments of low-income students, Michigan policymakers can act now to expand access to all those who qualify, a move that will have a big impact for many students who thought the pandemic ended their educational dreams.”
“The Tuition Incentive Program stands out as a unique model for other financial aid programs because of its full tuition benefit and categorical eligibility rules,” says Peter Granville, TCF senior policy associate and report co-author. “As states across the country wrestle with how to restore the promise of higher education for its low-income students, the program offers valuable lessons learned.”
On a bipartisan basis, Michigan leaders have made substantial new investments in higher education recently. In addition to expanding TIP, they implemented Futures for Frontliners, a free-tuition program for essential workers, and Michigan Reconnect, a free-tuition program for individuals over 25.
The Century Foundation (TCF) is a progressive, independent think tank that conducts research, develops solutions, and drives policy change to make people’s lives better. We pursue economic, racial, and gender equity in education, health care, and work, and promote U.S. foreign policy that fosters international cooperation, peace, and security. TCF is based in New York, with an office in Washington, D.C. Follow the organization on Twitter at @TCFdotorg and learn more at www.tcf.org.
The Institute for College Access & Success is a trusted source of research, design, and advocacy for student-centered public policies that promote affordability, accountability, and equity in higher education.