GRCC President Bill Pink calls Grand Rapids Promise Zone 'life-changing'

Jan. 13, 2020 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Grand Rapids Community College embraces the life-changing role it will play educating students through the Grand Rapids Promise Zone, and is proud to be a partner in these efforts to strengthen the region for generations to come, GRCC President Bill Pink said.

Pink spoke at a Monday event with Mayor Rosalynn Bliss; Teresa Weatherall Neal, chairperson of the Grand Rapids Promise Zone Authority; and other leaders to discuss the program to provide a GRCC education without cost to graduates from 22 public, public charter and private high schools located within the city.

“To say the Promise Zone is a game-changer really doesn’t go far enough,” Pink said. “We are removing cost as a barrier to getting an education, helping get an associate degree, credits to transfer to continue their education and career skills. This will be life-changing for so many students and their families.”

The Grand Rapids Promise Zone scholarship is a “last dollar” scholarship. Students are required to complete the FAFSA -- Free Application for Federal Student Aid -- 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, fees, books and required course materials.

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.

GRCC will reach out to schools and families to help them with the process, and also share the extensive support available to help students get started, then continue to be successful once they are attending. 

Pink said the Promise Zone partnership is a natural extension of GRCC’s work across West Michigan.

‘’We are proud to partner with the 22 Promise Zone schools, but we are equally proud of our commitment to the rest of the high schools and residents in Kent and Ottawa counties,” he said. “We are the entire region’s community college, and that does not change.

“People who aren’t eligible for the Promise Zone scholarship can still get a quality, affordable education at GRCC. We’ll also work with those students to see if they are eligible for other types of financial aid that might reduce their costs.”

People with questions can look at the website and reach out through the email promisezone@grcc.edu and by calling 616-234-4321.

Grand Rapids Community College 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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