Spartan Advantage Program

What is the Spartan Advantage Program?

The MSU Spartan Advantage Program (SPAD) reduces the educational loan debt of our neediest Michigan students. Institutional funds supplement other non-loan forms of financial assistance a student receives so that the costs of tuition, fees, room, board, and books are covered.

Eligible students receive sufficient grants, scholarships, and work study funds to cover the cost of tuition and fees, room and board, and books. Actual charges for a particular student can vary. See our costs page for more information.

What does it provide?

The MSU Spartan Advantage Program covers:

  • Costs for full-time tuition and fees during the fall and spring semesters (summer awards are contingent upon funding).
  • Room and board based on the cost of a standard double occupancy residence hall room and silver meal plan.
  • Estimated cost of books and course materials. Students with documented needs for course materials in excess of this standard amount should contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional funds.

    Note: Because Work-Study is part of your award and you will be paid every two weeks, you might want to consider a Short Term Loan to cover the purchase of books at the beginning of the semester. You can repay the loan out of your earnings.

Please note that the Spartan Advantage Program is intended to supplement grant funds that you receive from federal, state, MSU, or private sources, so this award will be reduced if you receive other grant funds after the initial award has been made.

What is NOT provided?

There are other costs of college that vary depending on the individual.  Some needs are the same as you would have at home (laundry, bus pass or other local travel costs, entertainment, clothing, etc.). The Spartan Advantage program does not cover these costs with grant funds. 

Students can meet these costs through additional work, savings, funds from family, or through low cost federal loans. We hope that students will budget carefully so as to avoid borrowing except when it is absolutely necessary.  The Office of Financial Aid will be happy to assist any student who needs help in reviewing available options for acquiring funds for these personal expenses.

How to apply

There is no separate application form for the Spartan Advantage Program. All you need to do is:

  1. Submit your FAFSA.
  2. Meet all of the eligibility requirements listed below.

The Office of Financial Aid will grant you the award if you are eligible and it will then appear on your award notice. Awards will be renewable each year for students who continue to meet the eligibility requirements.

What are the eligibility requirements?

To be eligible for the Spartan Advantage Program, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Be a Michigan resident.
  2. Be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant.
  3. Be from an economically disadvantaged background as indicated by total assets and total income from current and prior years. This means that your total income has been and will continue to be at or below the federally established poverty guidelines and your total assets are low enough that the family cannot use the income from them to rise above the poverty threshold. Total income consists of taxed and untaxed income reported on the FAFSA. For dependent students, this will be parent income; for independent students, this will be the student's own income. Total assets include, but are not limited to, cash, savings, investments, trusts, and real estate other than the primary residence.
  4. Be enrolled full-time in a program leading to your first undergraduate degree. Eligibility ends when you have taken the total number of credits required for that degree. If you have extenuating circumstances, you may appeal to the Office of Financial Aid for additional semesters of eligibility.