The current economic conditions in the state of Michigan and in the
country as a whole continue to concern many Michigan State University
students and families as they face the challenge of financing higher
education costs. To address these concerns, Provost Wilcox and I have
maintained close contact with our Office of Financial Aid to assess the
impact on our families and determine how we can best help you during
these difficult times.
We want you to know that financial aid advisers stand ready to assist
you in reviewing all available options. If you have not applied for
financial aid, you should do so by completing the Free Application for
Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA (http://fafsa.ed.gov), as soon as possible;
applications are accepted through June 30, 2010, for the 2009-10 school
year. If you already have applied for aid but are uncertain whether it
will be sufficient to allow you to meet university expenses, an adviser
can reevaluate your circumstances and eligibility for additional funds.
If you simply have questions about the billing and payment processes or
want to know more about the obligations incurred by taking out a federal
loan, advisers can answer those questions for you, too. You can reach
the financial aid staff during regular business hours by phone
(517-353-5940), by e-mail (email@example.com), or in person (150 Hannah
Administration Building or 252 Student Services Building). You also can
find all of the details of MSU student financial aid policies and
processes at the office Web site (http://finaid.msu.edu).
The majority of MSU students rely on financial aid to pay some of their
costs. We want to assure you that federal and institutional student aid
programs continue to be strong. The federal government has increased
the annual award amount and expanded the eligibility criteria for the
Pell Grant, the largest federal grant program for needy students.
This fiscal year, the university similarly committed to one of the
largest-ever increases in its own grant funds for needy students,
providing more dollars to more students than ever before. In addition,
in late fall we announced creation of a new program, the Adverse
Economic Circumstances Fund, especially designed for students whose
families are directly affected by the slowing economy.
These actions are consistent with MSU's ongoing commitment to
ensuring that institutional funds dedicated to financial aid increase
at a rate exceeding tuition increases. Over the past five years,
financial aid rate increases have exceeded tuition increases on an
annual basis by an average of nearly 4.5 percent. Nevertheless, we
understand that many of you continue to have concerns about meeting
your university expenses.
Though it may seem that higher education is a luxury in times like
these, we believe it remains a necessity. The importance of an education
at a globally acclaimed university has never been greater than it is
today as the new knowledge economy evolves. For Michigan State
University, helping students complete their degrees is a fundamental
part of our historical commitment to the state of Michigan and to the
world beyond. MSU is dedicated to advancing knowledge and transforming
lives in these challenging economic times, just as in the past 150 years.
Lou Anna K. Simon, Ph.D.