GEORGETOWN CHARTER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Many high schools seniors who are applying for trade schools and traditional state universities now qualify for additional scholarships.

The Michigan Achievement Scholarship went into effect at the start of the year. The additional $12 million added to the state’s general fund will help students achieve up to an additional $5,500 dollars annually for continuing education.

However, students will only learn of their eligibility status after they complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

“It is really the most critical step in the financial aid process,” said Chad Somerville, an outreach manager for the Michigan Department of Treasury. “It’s the gateway application for students to be considered for many federal and state financial aid programs.”

Michigan students who graduate from high school or earn an equivalent certificate in 2023 or later and have an expected family contribution for college of $25,000 or less will qualify.

“It’s up to $2,000 if they attend a private training provider,” Somerville said. “It’s up to close to $3,000 if they attend a community college per year, up to $5,500 if they attend a Michigan public university and up to $4,000 if they attend a Michigan private university.”

For high school seniors like Laila Jenison, the new scholarship opportunity may hold more weight for her to study in state.

“I was thinking about staying for the first two years to get that incentive,” the Jenison high schooler said. “And then transfer out of state so it’s a lot cheaper for me in the future.”

The additional scholarship is part of the state response in making Michigan universities and colleges more affordable. According to the Michigan League for Public Policy, Michigan has historically ranked at the bottom of the national list for college affordability.

The FAFSA application is free to fill out and can be completed at the Federal Student Aid website.