All eligible students who live and attend school in Grand Rapids will receive free tuition at GRCC starting with class of 2020 Grand Rapids

Promise Zone Scholarship will start in 2020, and offer 2 years free tuition at GRCC.

GR Promise Zone

GRAND RAPIDS – In an effort to ensure students in Grand Rapids have access to college, the Grand Rapids Promise Zone Authority brought together all 22 of the city high schools and Grand Rapids Community College in partnership to create the Grand Rapids Promise Zone Scholarship. The Scholarship will make it possible for every student who lives in the City of Grand Rapids and graduates from any of the 22 public, public charter, or private high schools located within the city limits to have free access to Grand Rapids Community College’s Associate Degree, job training, and certification programs - starting with the class of 2020.

The Grand Rapids Promise Zone was created on July 9, 2019, with the Michigan Department of Treasury’s confirmation of Grand Rapids’ designation as a promise zone. The Grand Rapids Promise Zone Authority board convened their first meeting on Sept. 11, 2019. Since then, they have formed the structure of the scholarship, and, today, they are passing along the development plan to the Michigan Treasurer for approval.

“Today is a great day for our city and the Class of 2020,” said Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, who serves on the Promise Zone Authority Board. “The board’s approval of the development plan and the partnership commitment from Grand Rapids Community College officially launch our Grand Rapids Promise Zone. This program removes barriers and provides support to our high school graduates to access higher education to earn an associate degree or certification.” Mayor Bliss first talked about this scholarship in her 2019 Grand Rapids State of the City.

The Grand Rapids Promise Zone Scholarship has a few simple requirements to receive the full Promise Scholarship: Start attending a high school within the City of Grand Rapids Schools starting in 10th grade or before, live in Grand Rapids from 10th grade or before, and graduate. Students who start in 11th grade or move into Grand Rapids in 11th grade can still receive 50% of the scholarship. Those who move or start attending in 12th grade are not eligible.

“This is a game-changer for the students and families in Grand Rapids. It is about removing barriers and creating opportunities for every student at every public and private school in the city starting with the Class of 2020. I am so proud of the work we have accomplished in such a short period of time since the creation of the Grand Rapids Promise Zone Authority.” Teresa Weatherall Neal, Chair of the Grand Rapids Promise Zone Authority Board and former Superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools.

This Promise Scholarship can be used at Grand Rapids Community College to earn up to 60 credit hours, covering the cost of tuition, fees, books, and required course materials. Students must still apply for Federal Financial Student Aid by filling out the FAFSA form. A process is being developed to allow DACA and undocumented students to access the scholarship without completing the FAFSA.

“GRCC is proud to welcome Grand Rapids students through the Promise Zone,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “Our mission is to reach as many people as possible to help them get the education they need to, in many cases, transform their lives. The Promise Zone is a game-changer because it eliminates financial hurdles as well as provides a clear pathway to quality education.”

Grand Rapids Community College also announced today that they would, as part of this Grand Rapids Promise Zone Scholarship, commit $500,000 in scholarships.

For more information, parents can go to the website:, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call 616-234-4321.

 Grand Rapids Promise Zone Attendance Requirements

 Length of Attendance & Residency Scholarship Benefit
 Grades 9-12 100%
Grades 10-12 100%
Grades 11-12  50%
Grade 12 only None


Grand Rapids Promise Zone Scholarship - Eligible High Schools

Grand Rapids City High School Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School
Grand Rapids University Preparatory Academy Sacred Heart Academy High School
Innovation Central High School Grand Rapids Christian High School
Ottawa Hills High School West Catholic High School
Union High School Grand Rapids Adventist Academy
Grand Rapids Montessori High School Wellspring Preparatory High School
C.A. Frost Environmental Science Academy Hope Academy of West Michigan
Grand Rapids Public Museum School Grand Rapids Covenant House Academy
Grand Rapids Learning Center NorthPointe Christian High School
Lake Michigan Academy Plymouth Christian High School
Southwest Community Campus High School Southeast Career Pathways


Frequently Asked Questions can be found on A PDF of this release can be found here.