University of Michigan federal student aid applications increase
Tyler Cialek didn’t apply for financial aid his freshman year at the University of Michigan.
But with two younger sisters entering their senior year of high school and his father’s Chrysler engineering job vulnerable to future auto industry layoffs, his family decided to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid form for his second year of college.
Cialek, a chemical engineering major from South Lyon, qualified for a $1,000 federal subsidized loan.
Financial aid applications are up significantly at U-M over last year, financial aid directors at both the Ann Arbor and Flint campuses said.
There are other notable differences in financial aid applications from years past, said Lori Vedder, U-M Flint's financial aid director since 2001. More students from higher-income families are applying for aid.
Pamela Fowler, U-M's financial aid director for 12 years, said employees at the Ann Arbor campus' financial aid office have been fielding 30 to 40 calls a week since the first round of financial aid award letters went out in March. The calls, more than she's seen before, are from families anticipating income changes or job loss, or from those who have already lost their jobs, homes, or gone bankrupt. All of those situations would require a re-evaluation of the original aid package.
At U-M, 25,121 had applied through the end of July this year, compared to 21,831 students at the same period a year ago, a 15 percent increase. U-M Flint has seen an increase of 30 percent. There, 4,871 students applied for aid by the end of July 2008; now applications are almost 7,000.
The increase in federal student aid applications also comes as U-M raises tuition.
For an in-state undergraduate student in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts, 2009-2010 tuition will be $11,659, a 5.6 percent increase over last school year.
Despite yearly tuition hikes, Fowler said it's a misconception that U-M is not affordable for Michigan students. She said her office awards an average of $6,000 in grant aid per in-state financial aid applicant, more than all but one other public college in the state. And there is more grant money available this year than ever, budgeted to offset the rise in tuition, officials have said.Stan Sheyn, 23, is a chemical engineering major about to enter his junior year. Sheyn, from Baltimore, Mich., is working his way through school.
He's been paying his own rent since he was a freshman. He said he got a generous aid package for the 2010 school year after filling out federal forms as a non-dependent. Nonetheless he said he will leave with a heap of federal loans to pay back.
Photo by Melanie Maxwell: University of Michigan business graduate Ari Siegel works on his laptop on the grass near Randall Lab.