Scholarships & Grants

Scholarships and grants are types of financial aid that do not need to be repaid. They may be awarded based on need, excellence in academics or other areas, or a combination of both. The aid may be given by the federal or state government, by MSU, or by a private donor.

Some scholarships are awarded to you by MSU based on your admission information. There is nothing else you need to do to apply for these scholarships. You will be notified if you are selected.

File the FAFSA for maximum eligibility

Most federal and state need-based grants, some MSU aid, and even some private scholarships rely on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to determine eligibility. It's best to apply early, since some aid is awarded until funds are exhausted. You can apply later in the year, but you might want to consult with us to find out what aid is still available. The FAFSA is available online at and may be completed beginning on Oct. 1 before the award year for which you're applying. For example, the FAFSA for the 2023-24 award year may be completed beginning Oct. 1, 2022.

Searching for scholarships

Be wary of any company that requires you to pay for a scholarship search. Several free, reputable scholarship search engines are available and MSU provides additional scholarship search resources.

Scholarship disbursement policy

If you bring one or more private scholarships with you to MSU, you should be aware of our scholarship policy:

  • If the donor specifies what semester(s) the award is for, MSU will follow their wishes.
  • If the student wants the award distributed in a way that differs from what the donor requests, the student will be asked to get an authorization letter from the donor.
  • If the donor letter does not specify a distribution schedule, MSU will pay awards of $300 or less all in the fall semester. Awards larger than $300 will be split with half in the fall and half in the spring.
  • If the award has been split and the donor has not given us instructions, the student may request the entire award be moved to the fall semester and we will honor that request. However, the student is then cautioned that he or she may be short of funds for the spring semester.

Commonly awarded grants and scholarships

The grants and scholarships listed below are among those most commonly awarded at MSU. Most require that the student demonstrate financial need as determined by the FAFSA.

State programs

For information on the State of Michigan's financial aid programs, such as the Tuition Incentive Program (TIP) or Michigan Competitive Scholarship (MCS), visit the state's website. Students who reside in other states may look up the financial aid programs offered by their state by visiting's state government page.

Federal programs

Federal grant funds are limited to students working on their first undergraduate degree. Students who have met degree requirements are no longer eligible for the following awards, even if the student elects not to seek conferral of the degree until a later semester.

Federal Pell Grant (PELL)
(FAFSA required) Pell Grant offers assistance to high need students working toward their first bachelor's degree. The Pell Grant is funded each year by Congress, which sets the minimum and maximum award amounts. If you are eligible for the Pell Grant, it will be listed on your MSU financial aid award offer. Eligibility is determined by the FAFSA. There is no separate application, and the award will disburse automatically once you are registered.

Students are limited to six years of Pell eligibility, or the full-time equivalent of six years for those attending less than full time. 

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
(FAFSA required) SEOG is a federal grant available to very high need students working toward their first bachelor's degree. If you are eligible for SEOG it will be listed on your award offer. There is no separate application, and the award will disburse automatically once you are registered. You must be enrolled full-time (12 credits per semester) to receive this grant.

MSU programs

MSU Spartan Advantage Program (SPAD)
(FAFSA required) The MSU Spartan Advantage Program (SPAD) is offered to new freshmen who are Michigan residents, Pell eligible and exceptionally needy based on family income. Spartan Advantage provides a combination of scholarships, grants, and work study sufficient to meet the basic cost of education (average cost for tuition and fees, room and board, and books). This award is renewable if the student and family income continues to meet the requirements.
MSU Student Aid Grant (SAG)
(FAFSA required) The MSU Student Aid Grant (SAG) is available to undergraduate students based on need. Students must be Michigan residents. There is no separate application, and the award will disburse automatically once you are registered.