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GRCC boosting ways to help students complete federal financial aid applications, gain access to grants, free-tuition programs

Feb. 23, 2021 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The number of Grand Rapids Community College students completing federal financial aid forms has increased dramatically in the last year, but many students are still potentially missing out on grants and programs to make college more accessible and affordable.

GRCC is boosting ways to assist students filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA.

The number of FAFSA forms submitted to GRCC for the 2021-2022 academic year is up by nearly 2,000 applications, about 44 percent.

That’s the opposite of state and national trends, according to the National College Attainment Network. But GRCC leaders say there are many students who can still take advantage of financial aid opportunities.

“The FAFSA application is unquestionably the key to accessing scholarships and financial aid programs that can reduce or even eliminate college costs,” said Dr. Tina Hoxie, GRCC associate provost and dean of Student Affairs. “GRCC is focused on helping students complete their FAFSA. We don’t want anyone to miss out on a life-changing education.”

FAFSA is an online form that requires financial and tax information for students and parents, if the students are dependents.

Students can connect with GRCC financial aid specialists by phone at (616) 234-4030; email at financialaid@grcc.edu; text at (616) 219-8224; or virtually or in-person by appointment.

GRCC has a series of helpful videos available on YouTube’s GRCCtv.  

The FAFSA can be completed at fafsa.gov using a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. The U.S. Education Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid also has information for students and families available at StudentAid.gov. The form can usually be completed in under an hour.

The form is required for students to receive federal Pell Grants, which can cover all expenses for some students, and for students to take advantage of the local Grand Rapids Promise Zone and statewide Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners programs.

The Grand Rapids Community College Foundation also requires a FAFSA for students to be eligible for scholarships. The foundation last year awarded $1.1 million in scholarships to GRCC students. The priority deadline to apply for a foundation scholarship is March 15, 2021.

Information and universal applications are available at grcc.edu/scholarships.

“Every year, we see the difference a college education can make in a person’s life,” said Dr. Kathryn K. Mullins, vice president for Advancement and executive director of the GRCC Foundation. “For many students, that dream becomes a reality because of a scholarship. Completing the FAFSA is the first step toward a brighter future.”

Grand Rapids Community College offers learners of all ages opportunities to gain credits for degrees or transfer and in-demand career skills leading to rewarding careers. GRCC was established in 1914 – Michigan’s first community college -- and offers affordable classes on weekdays, evenings, Saturdays and online at locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.

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