TIP program reduces debt

Students find outside resources to pay for college tuition

Ferris State University has had the Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) around for years, yet many students have never even heard of the program.

TIP is a Michigan-only financial aid program broken up into two phases. It is designed to help students who received Medicaid anytime between the third and 12th grade for at least two consecutive years.

“To get TIP, students would have had to fill out paperwork that was sent to their house from the state of Michigan,” Ferris’ TIP Coordinator Judy Watson said.

Phase one of TIP is for an associates program or a pre-program. For phase one, students get paid 12 credits a semester and a total of 80 credits for the entire phase.

“I did the math and if students don’t get an F or a W, phase one can get students through their junior year,” Watson said.

If students would like to know if they qualify for TIP, they can contact the State of Michigan at 888-447-2687. The State will ask for a person’s name, social security number and birthdate in order to verify if a person is eligible.

If a student is eligible for TIP, the student will then contact financial aid. Financial aid will make a note in the student’s record, and the student will be awarded the money right away.

“It is the one financial aid program that addresses financial need [at the state level],” Ferris Associate Provost of Retention and Student Success Dr. William Potter said.

At a certain point, students can lose the opportunity to utilize the TIP grant.

“What happens is the paperwork has to be back to the state of Michigan before August of the year they graduate or they absolutely lose out,” Watson said. But if they do get the paperwork in on time, they do have up to four years to go to college.”

Watson has been working to inform students of the benefits of TIP.

“If a student here can’t utilize it, maybe their siblings or a friend can,” Watson said.

Ferris senior in psychology Quillian Murphy has been utilizing TIP grants since his freshman year in college. Currently, Murphy is enrolled in phase one and will start phase two in the spring semester of 2014.

“Most people say when they get their bachelor’s degree, they’re in around $60,000 in debt, and I’ll only be at about five or six thousand in total debt when I graduate,” Murphy said.

More than 1,000 students at Ferris are utilizing TIP grants.

“Some students I know right now wouldn’t be in college if it weren’t for TIP,” Murphy said. “I wouldn’t be at Ferris without it.”