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Challenge Scholars

The Challenge Scholars program is a community promise of a free college for all Union High School students. It is a commitment from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Grand Rapids Public Schools, Grand Rapids Community College, and the community for students and their families to have a college education within reach. The program is a comprehensive approach that pairs both academic and social support to ensure student success Since 2013, sixth grade students from Harrison Park and Westwood Middle School have been able to enroll in Challenge Scholars to receive up to the four years of tuition-free college upon graduating from Union High School. In joining the partnership in 2016, GRCC expanded this opportunity of a free college education to all students at Union High School and committed a Student Success Coach to work with students at Union High School and once enrolled on campus.

To learn more about Challenge Scholars, please visit

Success Coaching Support

  • A Student Success Coach spends part of their week at Union High School engaging students individually and in groups
  • Provides individualized support to both students at Union High School and Challenge Scholars enrolled at GRCC
  • Work collaboratively with teachers and support staff to identify potential barriers that students may be facing and connect students to the appropriate supports
  • Assist students along their personal and academic journey by providing targeted interventions and outreach throughout the school year
  • Provide opportunities for students to explore, determine, and navigate career and academic pathways