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March 9, 2021

SVSU to Offer Free Tuition to Qualifying Students in Michigan

Saginaw Valley State University is expanding its longstanding dedication to making a first-class college education accessible to Michigan families by offering free tuition to qualified students throughout Michigan. A new initiative known as the SVSU Cardinal Commitment will remove barriers to higher education for many students, starting with the fall 2021 semester.

“We are proud of our role in welcoming students from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds and providing them with a high-quality education that prepares them for meaningful careers,” said Donald Bachand, SVSU President. “We have maintained the lowest tuition in the state for many years, but the sticker price still causes many families to think an SVSU degree is out of reach.

“We want those hard-working students to fully understand they can complete an SVSU degree and that we are putting resources into this program to support them every step of the way. I hear from employers every day who are counting on us to grow the talent pipeline, and we are committed to doing our part by breaking down barriers.” 

The SVSU Cardinal Commitment financial aid package provides free eligible tuition and mandatory fees to qualifying first-time undergraduate students with student and family adjusted gross income of $50,000 or less. Full criteria are available at

SVSU has partnered with community organizations for many years to improve college access. The leaders of three regional community foundations applauded this latest initiative.

Diane Fong, president and CEO of the Bay Area Community Foundation:

  • “The Bay Area Community Foundation applauds SVSU's efforts to make college accessible to all. Only 11% of young adults from low-income families earn a degree by age 24 compared to 58% from high-income families. One's ability to achieve an education should not be dependent on their family's income. The SVSU Cardinal Commitment is an important step to removing that barrier.”
  • “Midland Area Community Foundation is excited to learn of the Cardinal Commitment. We recognize the critical importance of post-secondary education to help build a community and region where all can thrive.  With Michigan's goal of 60% of residents with a post-secondary degree or credential by 2030, we appreciate Saginaw Valley State University's commitment to assist students with the cost of higher education.”

Renee Johnston, president and CEO of the Saginaw Area Community Foundation:

  • “The Saginaw Community Foundation is extremely proud of Saginaw Valley State University for their ongoing ‘Commitment’ to equity and access to higher education for all. And, with the recent announcement of the ‘Cardinal Commitment,’ they have recognized the need for long-term support for many students in need of assistance to complete college degrees.  The Saginaw Community Foundation is also excited to have the opportunity to leverage our scholarships with the Cardinal Commitment to further assist these students with other academic needs. Thank you SVSU for being an amazing community partner!”

Sharon Mortensen, president and CEO of the Midland Area Community Foundation:

Questions regarding the SVSU Commitment can be made by calling the SVSU Information Line at 989-964-2110 or e-mailing the SVSU Campus Financial Services Center at