On the campus of one of the most expensive public universities in the country, President Barack Obama brought a message of college affordability on Friday morning.
President Obama introduced a new program called "Race to the Top", which shares the same name as a similar plan introduced in 2009 that targeted K-12 educational standards.
Michigan applied for those grants on two separate occasions, but failed to qualify.
States like New York and Ohio were eventually awarded hundred of millions of dollars in federal grants.
"We're telling the states, if you can find new ways to bring down the cost of college and make it easier for more students to graduate, we'll help you do it," said President Obama, speaking to a crowd of about 4,000 people inside Al Glick Field House.
The president's plan call for money that used to go towards subsidizing banks to now be funneled to college students in the form of grants and loans with lower interest rates.
For Flint's Stephania Ortega, an engineering student at the University of Michigan, Friday's speech was music to her ears.
"My parents, I've been lucky, they help me out a lot, but I do take out some loans and I have scholarships," said Ortega, who watched the president's remarks from about 30 feet away.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who helped introduce the K-12 version of "Race To The Top", was also in the crowd for Friday's speech.
"We at the federal level are trying to be a great partner, significant increases in Pell Grants we're looking to double work-study opportunities. We want to make loans much more affordable at the back end, reducing loan repayments but we can't do it by ourselves," said Secretary Duncan.