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Detroit's Wayne State University To Offer Local Students Free Tuition

Elizabeth Balboa

Detroit’s Wayne State University announced a plan this week to eliminate tuition and fees for local students.

From some, that will cut the cost of a four-year degree by more than $45,000.

The Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge will be available to Detroit residents working toward a high school diploma and to graduates of Detroit high schools — public, charter, private or home schools.

The enrollment of Detroit Public Schools is 49,276 students.

“Every Michigander deserves an affordable postsecondary education, and Wayne State has been a tremendous leader on this issue,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said at the announcement. “Earlier this year, I announced a statewide goal of reaching 60% of Michiganders with a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2030, and the Heart of Detroit Tuition Pledge will bring us one step closer to meeting that goal.”

Eligible students must be admitted to WSU as full-time and first-time freshmen, live in Detroit proper, complete the FAFSA and enroll in a student-success program that tracks achievements and enables students to earn micro-scholarships.

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"We didn't want to have a lot of reasons why people wouldn't qualify," Dawn Medley, Wayne State's associate vice president for enrollment management, told the Detroit Free Press.

"We thought we could go bold. It's really as close to free college as we can get in terms of tuition."

The program builds on previous initiatives to increase college access for local students, including the 2017 rollout of the full-tuition Wayne ACCESS award and 2011 installment of the Detroit Promise program.

“This solidifies our status as the university of choice for Detroit students,” Wayne State Provost Keith Whitfield said.

It also puts Detroit in the vanguard of a growing movement toward free college education.

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