financial aid

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Each October, the nation blooms with pink: It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

The big push is often about awareness, as in "don't forget to get your mammogram" and in raising money for breast cancer research.

But there's a lesser-told side of the breast-cancer story: the financial hardships so many patients endure as they go through treatment.

Molly MacDonald of Oakland County knows this all too well through her own breast cancer experience.

That's why she founded The Pink Fund, a nation-wide organization offering financial aid to breast cancer patients. 

Sarah Kerson / Michigan Radio

This year marks the lowest tuition rate increase for University of Michigan undergraduate students in nearly 30 years.

The 1.1% increase, or $148 per year for the average undergrad, puts U of M's in-state tuition at $13,142 per year. Out-of-state students will have to foot a slightly bigger bill. U of M regents approved a 3.2% for those students, which is an additional $1,270 per year, on average.

The university also marked another financial success for the upcoming term.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - Michigan colleges are stuck with a bill worth millions of dollars when students with federal grants drop out but keep the cash.

The Detroit Free Press says Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn likely will raise tuition, partly to repay $4.1 million to the federal government. Spokesman Gary Erwin says two-year colleges have been hit "particularly hard."

A new federal mandate could make it easier for families to budget for college. Net price calculators will be required by all colleges and universities starting October 29th. At a minimum, net costs are based on a student’s income, how big their family is and their dependency status.

Keith Williams works in the financial aid office at Michigan State University. He says MSU’s net price calculator has been around for several years.

"It just allows a student to make a real, realistic comparison as to what the net price will be at one school versus another school," Williams said.

Margaret Rodriguez works in the financial aid office at the University of Michigan. She says the mandate is a good thing.

"The more information that we can make available to families about the availability of financial aid, the better it is," she said.

Schools can use their own system or the generic calculator provided by the federal government.

- Amelia Carpenter - Michigan Radio Newsroom