This month MSU gave out the first cycle of its Spartans Will Completion Grants to 67 low-income undergraduate students. These grants are part of a $4 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Great Lakes Higher Education Guarantee Corporation that MSU is participating in as part of our membership in the University Innovation Alliance (UIA).
This grant program assists students who are approaching graduation, but face financial hurdles restricting their ability to enroll, persist, and subsequently complete their undergraduate degree. These last dollar grants are for currently enrolled low-income students, in good academic standing, that are within a few semesters of graduating and have an unpaid balance on their account of less than $1000. Students are randomly selected to participate and cannot apply for the program. This semester, grants ranged from $100 to $980.
Advisors called the students who received the grants at the beginning of the November 2017 and notified them of the grant and encouraged them to continue in their studies. The students were shocked, excited, and extraordinarily appreciative. One student noted they had to go down to part-time because of finances and were worried about finishing, but that this grant would allow them to go back to full-time next semester and hopefully finish. Another said, “What a relief, I was about to take out a credit card for it!” A final student said they had been asking everyone they knew if they could borrow $5-10 to try to come up with all the money they needed. The grants will be distributed again in the spring semester.