Michigan Competitive Scholarship

The Michigan Competitive Scholarship presents a special opportunity for students in Michigan to find financial assistance as they prepare to head off to college. While not all Michigan students will be eligible to receive an award through the Michigan Competitive Scholarship, those who have already been accepted into a college or university will likely meet the requirements needed to receive aid. The program represents the most recent attempt for the financially troubled state of Michigan to provide funding to its residents for higher education. Defunct programs such as the Michigan Merit Awards and Michigan Promise Scholarships are previous attempts to provide such funding opportunities but were cut either through expiration of the legislation or through a purposeful act of the state legislature. While this means that many of the previously available Michigan scholarships offered by the state are no longer available, students who are eligible for the Michigan Competitive Scholarship will still have access to aid, albeit it more limited in many cases than previous programs. Before applying for the Michigan Competitive Scholarship students should be aware that they will need to have applied for the Federal Student Aid program (FAFSA) in order to begin their application process. All applicants who submit their FAFSA paperwork before March 1 will be considered first for the program.

Eligibility requirements for the Michigan Competitive Scholarship program are relatively easy to comply with, allowing many different students in the state to have access to the reward. Official legislation does not set a qualifying score, but in 2009 the Michigan Superintendent of Public Schools Michael Flanagan set it to a composite score of 21, a position which has not since been changed. All students will need to be able to demonstrate financial need, which will be shown through their FAFSA applications. Applicants should have a grade point average no lower than 2.0 and must be residents of the state of Michigan. Finally, no applicant applying for a Michigan Competitive Scholarship may be in default of a federal student loan. While all students who fall into these eligibility requirements should consider applying for the program, they should be further aware that it may only be used at specific institutions in the state of Michigan. A complete list of these institutions is available on the State of Michigan’s Financial Aid website under the Michigan Competitive Scholarship through the Office of Scholarships and Grants.

The maximum award for the Michigan Competitive Scholarship is $1,512 but it can be spread across through 10 different semesters receiving up to that amount each time. While this does mean that students will be able to rely on the award for many years after their graduation from high school, an important caveat is mentioned on the Michigan Competitive Scholarship website. It specifically states that funds awarded in the 10 semester period are only made available depending on funding at the state level, and whether a student is able to maintain eligibility requirements while in school. It is always possible that the Michigan Competitive Scholarship may go the way of its predecessors and falling funding may cut short available funds for students already in school receiving the aid. Students should follow the status of the program by going to the website every year before applying for a renewal to make sure it is still available. Applying for the Michigan Competitive Scholarship is a fairly straight forward process – high schools throughout the state record and submit a student’s information automatically every year. Once a student has completed their ACT exams and submitted their FAFSA information they will be automatically enrolled into the program. Those students who make it past the eligibility requirements will receive notification, telling them that they have access to the award. Award amounts will be determined based on financial need assessment from the FAFSA. As a first come, first serve program, students interested in the Michigan Competitive Scholarship should apply for the FAFSA as early as they can and get into their ACT testing at their earliest responsible chance.