Banking & Finance and Education

Grand Rapids high school students to receive free college tuition

January 13, 2020
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Students from 22 Grand Rapids public, charter and private high schools will be able to attend college for free.

Approved today, the Grand Rapids Promise Zone scholarship will start in 2020 and offer two years of free tuition for associate degrees, job training and certification programs at Grand Rapids Community College.

The Grand Rapids Promise Zone scholarship is a “last dollar” scholarship. Students are required to complete the FAFSA application to determine available need-based aid. Once the total need-based aid has been determined, they will receive a Grand Rapids Promise Zone scholarship to cover the remaining costs of tuition up to 60 credits, fees, books and required course materials, according to GRPS officials.

To be eligible for the full support, students must start attending a high school within the city of Grand Rapids in 10th grade or before, live in Grand Rapids from 10th grade or before, and graduate. Students who start in 11th grade or move into Grand Rapids in 11th grade still can receive 50% of the scholarship. Those who move or start attending in 12th grade are not eligible.

GRCC will provide $500,000 in scholarships as part of the program and also has accepted the role of administering the program on behalf of the authority board.

"The Promise Zone is a game-changer because it eliminates financial hurdles as well as provides a clear pathway to quality education," GRCC President Bill Pink told the Associated Press.

The Grand Rapids Promise Zone was created on July 9, 2019, with the Michigan Department of Treasury’s confirmation of Grand Rapids’ designation as a promise zone.

The Grand Rapids Promise Zone Authority board convened their first meeting on Sept. 11, 2019, and since has formed the structure of the scholarship, which gets passed along to the Michigan Treasurer for approval.

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