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 even just considering attending this public school in East Lansing? If so, you’ll need a plan to pay for it. Tuition at Michigan State costs, on average, $14,254 annually.

Fortunately, students have many different options to pay for Michigan State University tuition, 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 you can make smart choices about paying for your education.

Cost of attending Michigan State University
Annual tuition and fees (in-state)$14,524
Annual room and board$10,522
Total cost$25,046
Annual net cost (after aid)$7,142
Average debt after graduation$7,250 – $30,650
All info current as of May 25, 2020
Sources: Michigan State University, College Scorecard

7 keys to paying for Michigan State University

1. The FAFSA: Unlocking financial aid
2. Grants for Michigan State University students
3. Scholarships for Michigan State University students
4. Federal work-study
5. Federal student loans
6. Michigan State University student loans
7. Private student loans

The FAFSA: Unlocking financial aid

For students attending Michigan State, 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 through grants — it’s money you don’t have to repay.

The Department of Education operates many grant programs. Grants may also be available for Michigan State students who meet certain criteria, such as studying particular subjects. Plus, 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. Michigan State students may also be eligible for 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’ll need to complete the FAFSA.

Scholarships for Michigan State University students

Scholarships are another source of money for Michigan State students. Scholarships are available through the university itself, as well as government programs, 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. Other scholarships, however, are need-based, and students and their families will need to 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 Michigan State. For example, students in Michigan could be eligible for the following:

Michigan State also offers its own scholarships:

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 10 scholarship search tools to help you find more money so you can 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, 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, and MSU’s Office of Financial Aid provides information about the school’s work-study program.

Students can also use career site Handshake through MSU to find information about opportunities open to work-study recipients or visit the school’s 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 Department of Education that provide money to students with and without financial need. There are also federal loans available for parents of undergrads.

Note that 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 typeEligible borrowersInterest rateLoan feesIs interest subsidized?
Direct Subsidized LoansUndergrads with demonstrated financial need, regardless of credit history4.53%11.059%Yes
Direct Unsubsidized LoansUndergrad and grad students, regardless of need or credit history4.53% for undergrads; 6.08% for grad students1.059%No
PLUS LoansGraduate students and parents of undergrad students who don’t have adverse credit7.08%4.236%No
All info current for the 2020-2021 school year

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 credit history.

Michigan State University student loans

Michigan State’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 $500 for undergraduates or $1000 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 these 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 some private lenders allow borrowers to temporarily pause payments if they lose their job or experience other hardships. Certain lenders may 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 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.

Christina Majaski contributed to this report.

Need a student loan?

Here are our top student loan lenders of 2020!
LenderVariable APREligibility 
1.09% – 11.98%1Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit College Ave

1.25% – 11.10%*,2Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SallieMae

1.24% – 11.99%3Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Discover

1.24% – 11.44%4Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit Earnest

1.78% – 11.89%5Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SoFi

2.69% – 12.98%6Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Ascent

3.52% – 9.50%7Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit CommonBond

* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.

1 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

CollegeAve Disclosures

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

  1. Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
  2. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a first year graduate student borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7.10% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $141.66 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $16,699.21. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

Information advertised valid as of 11/2/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.


2 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.

3 Important Disclosures for Discover.

Discover Disclosures

  1. Aggregate loan limits apply.
  2. Students who get at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) qualify for a one-time cash reward on each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan. Reward redemption period is limited. Please visit DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Reward for any applicable reward terms and conditions.
  3. Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for undergraduate loans, and include an interest-only repayment discount and Auto Debit Reward. The interest rate ranges represent the lowest and highest interest rates offered on Discover student loans, including undergraduate and graduate loans. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable margin percentage. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 0.250% as of October 1, 2020. Discover Student Loans may adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Our lowest APR is only available to customers with the best credit and other factors. Your APR will be determined after you apply. It will be based on your credit history, which repayment option you choose and other factors, including your cosigner’s credit history (if applicable). Learn more about Discover Student Loans interest rates.
  4. Lowest APRs shown for the Discover Private Consolidation Loan are available for the most creditworthy applicants and include a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable margin percentage. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 0.250% as of October 1, 2020. Discover Student Loans may adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Our lowest APR is only available to customers with the best credit and other factors. Your APR will be determined after you apply. It will be based on your credit history, which repayment option you choose and other factors, including your cosigner’s credit history (if applicable). Visit Discover.com/student-loans/consolidation for more information, including up-to-date interest rates and APRs.
Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for undergraduate loans, and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.

4 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

  1. Rates include 0.25% Auto Pay Discount
     
  2. Explanation of Rates “With Autopay” (APD)
    Rates shown include 0.25% APR discount when client agrees to make monthly principal and interest payments by automatic electronic payment. Use of autopay is not required to receive an Earnest loan.

    Available Terms
    For Cosigned loans – 5, 7, 10, 12, 15 years. 
    Primary Only – 10, 12, 15 years

    In school deferred payment is not available in AL, AZ, CA, FL, MA, MD, MI, ND, NY, PA, and WA).


5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

sofiDisclosures

UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 11.26% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 1.88% to 11.66% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 11.37% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.78% to 11.73% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.30% to 11.52% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.95% to 11.89% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.60% to 10.76% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.88% to 11.16% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin and your APR may increase after origination if the LIBOR increases. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Lowest rates are reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the repayment option you select, the term and amount of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Information current as of 11/04/2020. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. SoFi Lending Corp., licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).


6 Important Disclosures for Ascent.

Ascent Disclosures

Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.

  1. Competitive variable rates calculated monthly at the time of loan approval based on a margin plus the 1-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) rounded to the nearest 1/100th of a percent. The current LIBOR is 0.152%, which may adjust monthly. Your interest rate may increase or decrease, based on LIBOR monthly changes. Rates are effective as of 11/01/2020 and reflect an Automatic Payment Discount. Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month.(See Automatic Payment Discount Terms & Conditions.)
    1. Undergraduate Loans: Your variable interest rate may increase or decrease, based on LIBOR monthly changes, resulting in an APR range between 2.69% and 12.98%.  Fixed rate loans will not increase or decrease over the life of the loan and have an APR range between 3.58% and 14.50%. Rates reflect an Automatic Payment Discount of 0.25% on the lowest offered rate and a 2.00% discount on the highest offered rate. The following table shows a 48 month in-school period plus 9 months of grace prior to a full repayment term of either: 60-months (lowest fixed/variable rate), 144-months (highest fixed rate) or 180-months (highest variable rate) with examples of (i) Interest Only payments, (ii) $25 Minimum payments, and (iii) Deferred repayment options.((See Undergraduate Loan repayment examples.)
    2. Graduate Loans (Graduate, MBA & Law): Your variable interest rate may increase or decrease, based on LIBOR monthly changes, resulting in an APR range between 3.65% and 12.40%. Fixed rate loans will not increase or decrease over the life of the loan and have an APR range between 4.62% and 13.54%. Rates reflect an Automatic Payment Discount of 0.25%. The following table shows a 36 month in-school period plus 9 months of grace prior to a full repayment term of either: 84-months (lowest fixed/variable rate), 144-months (highest fixed rate), or 180-months (highest variable rate) with examples of (i) Interest Only payments, (ii) $25 Minimum payments, and (iii) Deferred repayment options. (See Graduate Loan repayment examples.)
    3. Medical: Your variable interest rate may increase or decrease, based on LIBOR monthly changes, resulting in an APR range between 3.65% and 12.40%. Fixed rate loans will not increase or decrease over the life of the loan and have an APR range between 4.62% and 13.54%. Rates reflect an Automatic Payment Discount of 0.25%. The following table shows a 48 month in-school period plus 36 months of grace prior to a full repayment term of either: 84-months (lowest fixed/variable rate), 144-months (highest fixed rate), or 240-months (highest variable rate) with examples of (i) Interest Only payments, (ii) $25 Minimum payments, and (iii) Deferred repayment options. (See Medical Loan repayment examples.)
  2. Payments may be deferred. Subject to lender discretion, forbearance and/or deferment options may be available for borrowers who are encountering financial distress.
  3. Making interest only or partial interest payments while in school will not reduce the principal balance of the loan. There are three (3) flexible in-school repayment options that include fully deferred, interest only and $25 minimum repayment. (See Undergraduate Loan repayment examples.)
  4. Flexible repayment plans may be offered up to a fifteen (15) year repayment term for a variable rate loan and ten (10) year repayment term for a fixed rate loan. Students must be enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school. Minimum loan amount is $2,000.
  5. Interest rate reduction of either 0.25% (for Credit-Based Loans) or 2.00% (for Undergraduate Future Income-Based Loans) applies only when the borrower and/or cosigner sign up for automatic payments and the payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account each month. The amount of the discount is dependent upon the loan product and credit history of the borrower at the time of application. Interest rate reduction(s) will not apply during periods when no payment is due, including periods of in-school, deferment, grace or forbearance, unless a regular payment amount has been arranged with the servicer. If you have two (2) consecutive returned payments for Nonsufficient Funds, we may cancel your automatic debit enrollment and you will lose the interest rate reduction. You will then need to re-qualify and re-enroll in automatic debit payments to receive the interest rate reduction.(See Automatic Payment Discount Terms & Conditions.)
  6. All applicants (individual and cosigner) are required to complete a brief online financial literacy course as part of the application process to be eligible for funding.
  7. Eligibility, loan amount and other loan terms are dependent on several factors, which may include: loan product, other financial aid, creditworthiness, school, program, graduation date, major, cost of attendance and other factors. Aggregate loan limits may apply. The cost of attendance is determined and certified by the educational institution.
  8. The legal age for entering into contracts is eighteen (18) years of age in every state except Alabama where it is nineteen (19) years old, Nebraska where it is nineteen (19) years old (only for wards of the state), and Mississippi and Puerto Rico where it is twenty-one (21) years old.
  9. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details. In order to be eligible for the 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward, borrower must meet the following criteria after graduation:
    • The student borrower has graduated from the degree program that the loan was used to fund.
    • The student borrower may change majors and/or transfer to a different school, but must obtain the same level of degree (e.g. – undergraduate or graduate)
    • The graduation date is more than 90 days and less than five (5) years after the date of the loan’s first disbursement.
    • Any loan that the student has borrowed under the Ascent loan is not more than 30-days delinquent or in a default status as of the graduation date and until any Graduation Reward is paid.
  10. Students can apply to release their cosigner and continue with the loan in only their name after making the first 24 consecutive regularly scheduled full principal and interest payments on-time and meeting the other eligibility criteria to qualify for the loan without a cosigner.

* Application times vary depending on the applicant’s ability to supply the necessary information for submission.


7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.17% effective Sep 1, 2020 and may increase after consummation.


Need a student loan?

Check out our top picks below or learn more about other ways to pay for college.
Variable APRDegrees That QualifyMore Info
1.09% – 11.98%1 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit College Ave

1.25% – 11.10%2 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit SallieMae

1.24% – 11.99%3 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit Discover

1.24% – 11.44%4 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit Earnest

1.78% – 11.89%5 Undergrad & Graduate

Visit SoFi

2.69% – 12.98%6 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit Ascent

3.52% – 9.50%7 Undergraduate
Graduate

Visit CommonBond