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Tuition Incentive Program Vital to Learning Opportunities for First-Generation, Financially Challenged Students

PhotoDuring the last 10 years, more than 9,000 Ferris State University students have participated in the TIP Phase I program.

The Tuition Incentive Program, a higher education funding resource administered by the Michigan Department of Treasury, is at the root of numerous Ferris State University student success stories.

Assistant Director of Financial Aid Melanie Mulder said TIP funding is a key component for many students who are the first in their families to pursue an Associate of Applied Science or Associate in Arts degree.

“I have spoken to parents of TIP students who said that if not for this resource, they would have discouraged their students from pursuing a college degree since they did not have collegiate backgrounds,” Mulder said. “TIP is making a difference in the lives of these first-generation students and their families.”

Qualifying for assistance in this program hinges on multiple factors, including that student having had two years of eligibility for Medicaid within any three-year span from the age of 9 to their high school graduation. Mulder said the number of students who receive TIP Phase I support to pursue the associate degrees at Ferris is substantial in a program with a significant history.

“In the past 10 years, 9,364 Ferris students have participated in the TIP Phase I program,” Mulder said. “The field of recipients grew to more than 6,000 in the last five academic years, which is impressive, as it relates to university enrollment in general.”

There is also TIP Phase II assistance for those students who have completed the associate degree programs, earned college certificates or gained a qualifying number of transferable college credits. Mulder said at Ferris that the College of Retention and Student Success presents these students with various resources to make the most of their opportunities.

“The TIP Scholars Program provides guidance and support to help these students thrive as learners,” Mulder said. “We quite often see younger siblings or cousins of TIP students who also choose Ferris because of the amazing opportunities for success this program provides.”

The administration and staff in RSS also support President David Eisler’s advocacy efforts in the Michigan legislature to continue TIP funding for students who attend bachelor’s degree-granting institutions. Budget proposals in recent years have included making substantial cuts in TIP funding for Michigan’s public universities.

“President Eisler has been the champion of TIP students at Ferris, and I think this funding would have been cut at Ferris long ago if not for his efforts,” Mulder said. “The president appeared before the state legislature in March to urge them to leave that appropriation at the current level.”

Visit the TIP website for more information about the program.