A recent report highlights non-traditional students' success in the state of Michigan when compared to students from other states. Few scholarships exist to specifically help this student population.

Students who enter a four-year, public university in the state of Michigan when they are between the ages of 21-24 complete their degree at a higher rate than students who enter fresh from high school. Michigan is one of only six states that can say this, according to an article posted by Brian McVicar on MLive.com yesterday.

What makes Michigan buck the national trend? No one can say for sure. What we can say is that, despite the successful completion rates for these non-traditional students, there is oftentimes less scholarship money available to help them with their education goals.

Many scholarships that incoming students bring with them to Michigan State University, or any other higher education institution, are awarded locally at the high school level to graduating seniors. Other scholarships that are awarded by the university may also depend on high school factors, such as participation in particular extracurricular activities. These variables are less of an influence on older incoming students, who have likely been out of school for several years and may highlight more recent experiences in their application materials.

Older incoming students may face very different circumstances than students entering the university fresh from high school. They may be married. They may be parents. They likely have work experience or military experience or both. The factors driving them to succeed may be different than those of an 18 year old.

Several donors have chosen to support these non-traditional students through endowed scholarships at Michigan State University. These donors have recognized the unique circumstances that older students experience when attending university.

Anne Marie Dahetze Corcos Endowed Scholarship – Christine Corcos started this scholarship to honor her mother, Anne. Anne obtained a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, and a Diploma for Graduate Study, while raising two children in East Lansing. This scholarship is managed by the Women’s Resource Center. It is given to undergraduate students with preference for non-traditional students, and women entering MSU after a professional or personal life experience (such as divorce or widowhood).

Barbara Stewart Thomas and Jim Thomas Graduate Fellowship – This fellowship is managed by the Graduate School. It is a planned gift, and when endowed will allow for a fellowship to be given to graduate students with a preference to non-traditional graduate students. It is the donors’ wish that this fellowship allow a recipient who is passionate about social justice to further explore this passion through an advanced education.

Many individual programs on campus, such as construction management and landscape architecture, also have scholarships intended to support non-traditional students in their respective program.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can support non-traditional students at Michigan State University through a gift to the Empower Extraordinary Campaign for MSU, please contact our office at empower@supportforstudents.msu.edu or (517) 432-7345.

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