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Rick Shipman directs MSU’s Office of Financial Aid, which doled out over $650 million in aid last year and “will do a little more than that this year,” says Shipman.

In a wide-ranging conversation with Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon and Spartans Athletic Director Mark Hollis, Shipman says most of that aid is not based on financial need.

FAFSA on the web is the key item for all families with college-bound children to familiarize themselves with, fill out and submit. “We advise all freshmen to fill out FAFSA regardless of whether they plan to borrow any money just to see where they stack up,” says Shipman.

Shipman says 72 percent of all MSU students get some kind of aid, including almost 90 percent of freshmen.

By all means, adds Shipman, “contact our office if your financial situation changes; we can often help.”

Shipman advises families to start saving whatever they can for college as soon as they can and that just less than half of MSU students leave the university with some debt, which averages $23,000 (median, too).

“That’s less than one year at MSU or a new car,” Shipman says. “And your degree is something you carry with you your whole life, you don’t just drive it for five years.”

Shipman adds that families should have an open discussion on what the expectations are as to who will pay for what. “As soon as possible have that discussion so the parents and the students are clear on who’s expected to pay what.”

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