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Grand Rapids Promise Zone Authority seeing increase in student enrollment

Over half of the city's class of 2020 students who are eligible for the Promise Zone have already been accepted at GRCC.
Credit: Grand Rapids Community College
Grand Rapids Community College.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Promise Zone Authority is seeing an increase in student enrollment. Over half of the eligible students from the city's class of 2020 have already been accepted at GRCC.

In February, the Promise Zone Authority sent more than 1,000 conditional award letters to eligible class of 2020 students. According to the Grand Rapids Promise Zone director Evan Macklin, just over 500 students are ready to enroll at GRCC, which is about 200 more students than originally projected.

“We are thrilled so many of the city’s students are taking advantage of this opportunity,” said Grand Rapids Promise Zone Authority Chairperson Teresa Weatherall Neal. 

Eligible students will be able to use the scholarship at GRCC to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and required course materials. Students are eligible to receive the full Grand Rapids Promise Zone Scholarship (60 credit hours) if:

  • They attend an eligible Grand Rapids high school continuously since the beginning of 10th grade or before;
  • They live in the City of Grand Rapids boundaries continuously since the beginning of 10th grade or before; and
  • They graduate from any of the 24 public, public charter, or private high schools located within the city.

Students who have been enrolled at an eligible high school and who have resided in Grand Rapids continuously since the start of 11th grade are eligible for a partial scholarship, covering up to 30 credit hours at GRCC. 

“The Promise Zone removes cost as a barrier to getting an education. Now more than ever, that’s important for the people in our community,” GRCC President Bill Pink said.

Pink also said, “We are proud of this partnership, and the role our college will play in helping Grand Rapids students and their families. We’re excited about the number of students who are using their Promise Zone scholarships. And we are focused on being here for everyone else who recognizes education is vital to be successful as our community moves forward.”   

Students who have received conditional scholarship award letters can still take the next steps and prepare for classes to earn an associate's degree or transfer to a 4-year institution.

“Now we want to make others aware of what a quality GRCC education can do for them, and what they can do to get started. We know many families are facing financial challenges as we emerge from the coronavirus crisis,” Macklin said. 

Macklin also said, “This is an opportunity for students to earn credits, for free, close to home as they start an educational journey. Some students have already completed the online new student orientation and started registering for the Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 semesters, but many still need to take those steps.” 

In order for scholarship recipients to use the award, students must successfully graduate from high school, complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and enroll at GRCC. DACA and undocumented students are exempt from the FAFSA requirement. Students can complete their 2020-2021 FAFSA  online.

Students who received a welcome letter from GRCC can complete the online orientation by visiting GRCC's website.

The students graduating from the following schools are eligible for the Promise Zone Award:

  • C.A. Frost Environmental Science Academy
  • Lake Michigan Academy
  • Grand Rapids Adventist Academy
  • NexTech High School
  • Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School
  • NorthPointe Christian High School
  • Grand Rapids Christian High School
  • Ottawa Hills High School
  • Grand Rapids City High School
  • Plymouth Christian High School
  • Grand Rapids Covenant House Academy
  • Sacred Heart Academy High School
  • Grand Rapids Learning Center
  • Southeast Career Pathways
  • Grand Rapids Montessori High School
  • Southwest Community Campus High School
  • Grand Rapids Public Museum School
  • Union High School
  • Grand Rapids University Preparatory Academy
  • Wellspring Preparatory High School
  • Hope Academy of West Michigan
  • West Michigan Aviation Academy
  • Innovation Central High School
  • West Catholic High School

Anyone with questions can schedule a virtual meeting with the Promise Zone Direct by visiting the Promise Zone website, emailing promisezone@grcc.edu, or by calling (616)234-4321.

More information is available on the Grand Rapids Promise Zone Scholarship website.

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