University of Michigan will offer free tuition for low-income families

University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan

University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan

The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor will guarantee free tuition for all in-state students with an annual family income of $65,000 or less. The “Go Blue Guarantee" will launch in January 2018.

"The 'Go Blue Guarantee' cuts through the complexities of financial aid to help us reach talented students from all communities in our state. I have always believed that talent is ubiquitous in our society, but opportunity most certainly is not. The 'Go Blue Guarantee' helps us ensure wider opportunity,” said University of Michigan President, Mark Schlissel.

While many cheered the announcement, some higher-education experts reacted with skepticism. Critics of the program said that to truly benefit low-income students, Michigan would need to focus on improving the accessibility of the university, not just its affordability.

Temple University Professor Sara Goldrick-Rab said to The Chronicle of Higher Education that “tuition is not the real barrier to enrollment at institutions like Michigan,” the university should also make more efforts to guarantee better admissions procedures and covering living expenses and student fees.

Similar initiatives are proliferating across the United States. Recently, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a deal that will make tuition free at the City University of New York and State University of New York Systems. The announcement sparked criticisms over the issue of room and board expenses, costs that can sometimes be twice as high as tuition costs.