MSU offers emergency aid for students and families hit by economic crisis

Contact: Tom Oswald, University Relations, Office: (517) 432-0920, Cell: (517) 281-7129,

Dec 05, 2008

EAST LANSING, Mich.—In an effort to ease the burden on students and their families who are feeling the pinch of the current global economic crisis, Michigan State University has created the Adverse Economic Circumstances Fund.

More than half a million dollars have been set aside for the fund which can be used, in conjunction with other available assistance, by students and their families who have suffered serious financial setbacks due to the loss of income.

“We understand that there are families whose economic situations have been dramatically weakened by job loss or other catastrophic incidents as a result of the economic downturn,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “To address the special needs of these families we established this new financial assistance fund.

Our hope is that these funds will make the difference between continuing studies and withdrawing from MSU for as many students as possible.”

Students and their families who find themselves in difficult economic circumstances are urged to contact the MSU Office of Financial Aid at (517) 353-5940. From there they can speak with an adviser who can help them determine a course of action.

“They can work one-on-one with an adviser about their circumstances, help to document them, and determine what they are eligible for,” said Rick Shipman, MSU financial aid director. “And it’s not just limited to those who have lost jobs. People could be facing mortgage foreclosures and have been using their home equity to pay for school.”

MSU is routinely recognized as a leader in providing financial assistance for its students. For example, over the past five years financial aid made available from MSU has increased an average of 13 percent, outpacing tuition increases which averaged 7.5 percent over that same period.

“The importance of a college education at a world-recognized university has never been greater than it is right now,” Simon said. “For MSU, helping our students complete their degrees is an essential part of our commitment to Michigan and the United States.”

MSU has a number of programs in place to help students and their families meet their financial obligations.

  • The Spartan Advantage helps those students most in need by guaranteeing that the average costs of tuition, fees, room and board, and books are covered with a combination of work study and gift aid. In 2008-09, the third year of the program, 925 students took part in the program.
  • Each year more than 18,000 students work on campus to help meet expenses.
  • More private scholarships are available to more students than ever before. MSU students received more than $16 million in private scholarships last year alone and this amount has risen each of the last many years.

For additional information on MSU’s financial aid options, visit the Web at www.finaid.msu.edu.