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Free tuition to GRCC for GR high schoolers a "game-changer"

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In what education officials are calling a “game changer,” Grand Rapids Community College announced Monday that students who live and attend a high school within the city limits will receive free tuition. As part of an effort to ensure that every high schooler in the city has the chance to attend college, education officials on Monday launched the Grand Rapids Promise Zone Scholarship, which provides students the opportunity to attend Grand Rapids Community College and earn an Associate Degree or get certification training…free of charge.

Grand Rapids Community College President Dr Bill Pink says, the Promise Zone is a game-changer because it eliminates financial hurdles for students who may otherwise not be able to afford college, as well as providing a clear pathway to a higher education.

“What it means for our college, is the fact that again, we get to make a statement--a strong statement, as to what this college means with this community, and for this community,” Dr. Pink said. “So this to me is a natural thing, it makes sense to us. That GRCC would be that higher ed institution that gives these students the opportunity to gain a high quality, higher education at a price that is free. That’s awesome for us, that’s awesome for our community.”

And it’s not just for students who attend Grand Rapids Public School’s that get free tuition…as District Communication Director John Helmholdt explains…

“It’s for every high school student that is a resident of the city of Grand Rapids that attends one of the 22 public schools, charter schools, and private schools located within the city of Grand Rapids,” Helmholdt said. So, this promise is not just for GRPS…go down the list, if they are a resident and they are living in the city at 10th grade or earlier, they get 100% scholarship.”

According to GRCC, the college is providing $500,000 in scholarships to help cover the cost of the tuition. In addition, the first two years of the Promise Zone are being covered by private and corporate donors. The scholarship starts with the class of 2020

Daniel Boothe, WGVU NEWS

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