Promise Zone scholarship student applications to GRCC exceed projections

April 30, 2020 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – More than half of the city’s 2020 high school graduates students who are eligible for the Grand Rapids Promise Zone have been accepted at Grand Rapids Community College and are ready to enroll in fall classes, Grand Rapids Promise Zone Authority leaders said.

The Promise Zone Authority in February sent more than 1,000 conditional award letters to eligible students in the Class of 2020. Just over 500 are matriculated and are ready to enroll at GRCC – about 200 more than projected, said Evan Macklin, Grand Rapids Promise Zone Director.

“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. “The Promise Zone Board knew this would be a game-changer for Grand Rapids, but I don’t think anyone expected the college enrollment figures to increase this rapidly in the first year. We are seeing more students than ever chose to attend college directly after graduation.” 

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:

  1. They attend an eligible Grand Rapids high school continuously since the beginning of 10th grade or before;
  2. They live in the City of Grand Rapids boundaries continuously since the beginning of 10th grade or before; and
  3. 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. “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.”   

There is still time for other eligible students who have received conditional scholarship award letters to take the next steps and prepare for classes leading to an associate’s degree, an industry-recognized certificate for those pursuing a skilled trade, or to accumulate credits for the purpose of transferring 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. “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 – also known as FAFSA -- and enroll at GRCC. DACA and undocumented students are exempt from the FAFSA requirement. Students can complete their 2020-2021 FAFSA form at

Students who received a welcome letter can complete the online orientation at 

Anyone with questions can schedule a virtual meeting with the Promise Zone Director for more information regarding the scholarship or enrollment at, or can reach out by email at or by calling 616-234-4321. More information is available on the Grand Rapids Promise Zone Scholarship website at

GRCC has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.

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