How to Pay for Michigan State University: Financial Aid and Student Loan Options

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Are you a student at Michigan State University or considering attending the public college in East Lansing? If so, you need a plan to pay for it: The average annual cost of attending MSU is $16,788, according to College Scorecard.

Fortunately, students have many different options to pay for Michigan State University, ranging from grants and scholarships, which don’t have to be repaid, to work-study programs or student loans.

Find out everything you need to know about how to pay for Michigan State University so that you can make smart choices about paying for your education.

Cost of attending Michigan State University
Annual tuition and fees (in-state) $14,522
Annual room and board $10,322
Total cost $24,844
Annual net cost (after aid) $16,788
Average debt after graduation $25,485
All info current as of Aug. 22, 2018
Sources:

Michigan State University
College Scorecard

The FAFSA: Unlocking financial aid

For students attending Michigan State University, completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is essential to become eligible for most funding sources.

The FAFSA can be completed online. Simply provide financial information about you and your family if you’re a dependent undergraduate.

You must submit the FAFSA every year to be eligible for federal student loans, grants, and work-study programs. Many private and state-based funding options also rely on information from your FAFSA to determine eligibility.

Grants for Michigan State University students

One of the best ways to pay for Michigan State University is grants. A grant is money you don’t have to repay.

The Department of Education operates many grant programs. Grants may also be available for Michigan State University students who meet certain criteria, such as studying particular subjects. The state of Michigan also makes grants available. Our guide to state grants can be a great place to start your research.

Students can find grant opportunities at Michigan State University through the MSU Libraries. You can search for grants based on your academic level, demographic group, or the subject you plan to study in school. MSU students may also be eligible for free money via the:

Grants offered by the federal government are also available to Michigan State students, including Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants, and Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants.

Many grants, including Federal Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, are awarded based on financial need. To become eligible for federal grants, as well as to gain eligibility for many state grants, you will need to complete the FAFSA.

Scholarships for Michigan State University students

Scholarships are another source of free money for MSU students. Scholarships are available through government programs, MSU, private companies, nonprofits, and individual donors.

Some scholarships are merit-based, which means you can qualify for them based on your academic performance, athletic achievements, or another special talent. Merit-based scholarships are typically open to eligible students regardless of financial need.

But other scholarships are need-based. Students and their families must have limited financial resources to qualify.

The Education Department provides information on scholarships for which students from all states may be eligible, including scholarships for military families. There are also scholarships open only to Michigan residents or students attending MSU. For example, Michigan students could be eligible for the following:

There are many scholarships available for MSU students who are part of specific academic programs or meet other criteria related to their academic performance, talents, or financial need. The Office of Admissions has resources to help students find scholarships, including a searchable database of hundreds of different sources of free funding.

You can also check out our list of nine scholarship search tools to help you find more money to help you pay for MSU.

Federal work-study

A work-study program is another option to help you pay for MSU without taking out loans. Though you won’t have to repay this money later, you’ll have to work to earn money to pay for school.

Work-study is a federal program that subsidizes employer payments to eligible students who work in qualifying jobs. Students become eligible by completing the FAFSA, and only students with financial need can qualify. When students receive a financial aid award from Michigan State University, it will list “FED College Work Study” if they’re eligible for the program.

Many different jobs are open to students who qualify for work-study. MSU’s Office of Financial Aid provides information about the school’s work-study program.

Students can also use Handshake to find information about opportunities open to work-study recipients or visit the Career Services Network at 556 E. Circle Drive, Room 113, in the MSU Student Services Building.

Federal student loans

After exhausting options to pay for school without borrowing, you’ll probably need to take on at least some student debt.

When you start your search for student loans, it’s a good idea to exhaust federal student loans first before considering borrowing from private lenders. There are different loan programs administered through the Education Department that provide money to students with and without financial need. There are also federal loans available for parents of undergrads.

Federal student loans provide many advantages that other types of educational debt don’t offer. For example, students with federal loans can take advantage of income-based repayment plans, which cap payments at a percentage of your income and could eventually result in debt being forgiven after borrowers have made enough payments.

Federal student loan borrowers who work in qualifying public-service fields could also become eligible for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which forgives the remaining balance of their student loans if they make 120 on-time payments.

Federal loans also have standardized interest rates set by the government, as well as options to pause payments if borrowers return to school or experience financial hardship. In some cases, the government will even subsidize interest payments for a certain period.

There are different federal student loan options open to different borrowers, as the table below shows.

Loan type Eligible borrowers Interest rate Loan fees Is interest subsidized?
Direct Subsidized Loans Undergrads with demonstrated financial need, regardless of credit history 5.05% 1.066% Yes
Direct Unsubsidized Loans Undergrad and grad students, regardless of need or credit history 5.05% for undergrads; 6.60% for grad students 1.066% No
PLUS Loans Graduate students and parents of undergrad students who don’t have adverse credit 7.60% 4.264% No
All info current for the 2018-19 school year; loan fees will change as of Oct. 1, 2018

Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans don’t require you to have good credit to qualify, which make these options ideal for student borrowers who may not have had time to establish a positive payment history.

Michigan State University student loans

MSU’s financial aid website details the types of loans attendees take out. The school doesn’t provide its own long-term educational loans to students, but it does provide short-term loans of up to $450 for undergraduates or $800 for grad students.

These loans, which have a 7.00% interest rate, are intended only for enrolled students who can repay what they borrow within 60 days. Students can apply online through StuInfo. Approval is instant for qualifying students and students can access loan funds the same business day the loan is approved.

Private student loans

Finally, students should consider private student loans to help pay for Michigan State University. While students should almost always exhaust federal student aid first, some borrowers may not be approved for enough federal funding to cover the full cost of tuition and expenses. Private student loans can make up the difference.

If you borrow from a private lender, shop around and compare your options carefully. Different lenders will offer you different interest rates, repayment terms, and borrower protections, so it’s important to find a lender that offers you a good deal.

Private student loans won’t subsidize interest payments, and there are no options for Public Service Loan Forgiveness or income-based payment plans. But most private lenders allow borrowers to temporarily pause payments if they lose their job or experience other hardships. Some lenders even provide job-search assistance to out-of-work borrowers.

Use our list of popular private lenders as a starting point to help you find the right private loan for your situation. Credit and income both matter when applying for private loans, so younger borrowers or those without good credit may need a cosigner to qualify.

The bottom line: Paying for Michigan State University

Now you know how to pay for Michigan State University and can choose the educational funding that’s best for you. Remember, always exhaust free options such as grants and scholarships first, then consider work-study and federal student loans before shopping for a loan among private lenders.

By being smart about how you pay for school, you can keep debt low and have an easier time paying back student loans after graduation.

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Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

Advertiser Disclosure

Student Loan Hero Advertiser Disclosure

Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

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