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Tuition Incentive Program Offers Financial Support, Programmatic Structure to Students in Need

Ferris State UniversityMore than 500 Ferris State University freshman students are beginning their first semester in higher education with support from the state of Michigan’s Tuition Incentive Program. More than 1,000 other students will continue their learning at the Associate of Science, Art or Applied Science and Bachelor of Science degree levels, thanks to TIP.

The program is available to applicants who are United States citizens and Michigan residents, who had received Medicaid assistance for 24 months within a 36-month period, with that occurring at some point between their third and 12th-grade years. Elizabeth Burbatt, Ferris’ TIP Scholars coordinator, said that as the Fall 2018 semester began, 1,150 students were in the program’s Phase I.

“The Tuition Incentive Program was originally designed to help students acquire an associate degree,” Burbatt said. “Those who are accepted as TIP Scholars, in Phase I, can receive up to $10,000 and may complete as many as 80 credits while they explore careers and complete an associate degree. The 512 freshmen in the program, this year, is a record number for the university.”

TIP also has a Phase II program provides a grant of $500 per semester toward tuition for four semesters, while recipients continue in programs that lead to a bachelor’s degree. Burbatt said 418 students currently enjoy that opportunity.

“This office also works with students to provide academic, financial literacy and social opportunities,” Burbatt said. “We also provide them one-to-one support, and each newly-admitted TIP student is encouraged to participate in the Emerging Scholars Summer program.”

Tekarra Coleman, of Kalamazoo, was among the TIP Scholars Program student success coaches who met with Emerging Scholars participants in the week before Fall 2018 classes began.

“It was wonderful to work with them, showing them the ropes before they got into their studies,” Coleman said. “I still see them around campus, which we both enjoy. I want to make sure they are making friends and having success, so I take them under my wing.”

Coleman is making the transition from Phase I to Phase II, within the TIP program, as she advances from AAS studies in Health Information Technology to pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management.

“TIP has been very important to me, because without it, and the financial aid that I have secured, I would not be here, working toward my Bachelor degree,” Coleman said. “I have been applying for scholarships, and my work-study position with the TIP office is very beneficial. It is a lot to think about, beyond my studies, when I consider my classes and work schedule because I work a second job. I took classes this summer, which are not covered under the TIP program, so those costs were significant.”

Morley native Karlee Wright, a junior in the Dental Hygiene program, will be a Phase II TIP recipient in Fall 2019. She is a TIP success coach and mentor helping other students enrolled at Ferris.

“I found out about the program when I had my FSUS 100 course,” Wright said. “I am thankful to have received this support.”

The TIP Scholars program was established by the Retention and Student Success office, in 2007, to help participants succeed in the classroom and maximize their opportunities for assistance. Wright said she enjoys her role as a success coach.

“I am pleased to get students lined up with the resources available to them on campus,” Wright said. “I can see myself, three years ago, in the students that I work with. We organize a number of events to help our students make connections, so they feel comfortable on campus and can focus on their academic success.”

Students who are applying to Ferris, or have been accepted for the Fall 2019 semester are invited to learn more about TIP qualifications online and encouraged to apply for the Emerging Scholars Summer Program.

PHOTO CAPTION: Tuition Incentive Program assistance from the state of Michigan is a vital resource for more than 1,500 Ferris State University students, as they pursue Associate and Bachelor degree programs.