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  • We will enroll the final cohort of students (the class of 2028) in fall of 2021. Students who are enrolled as Challenge Scholars in 6th grade at either Westwood or Harrison Park by fall 2021, and who meet the eligibility requirements upon graduating from Union High School, will receive the Challenge Scholars scholarship.

  • Your options for college or technical training vary depending on when you sign up to be a Challenge Scholar and your GPA. See the details and what you are eligible for here. Click here for a complete list of the Michigan colleges and universities that Challenge Scholars can attend tuition-free.

  • The goal of Challenge Scholars is to help students go to and succeed in college. We recognize that students sometimes experience challenges and grades may slip. Our Challenge Scholars team, school staff and community partners are here to help students get back on track as soon as possible.

    If you're a parent concerned about your student's progress or if you are a student who's struggling, please let someone know. Help is here.

  • All students have different talents and dreams. Our goal is to make sure they can be successful whether that dream includes a 4-year college or a career training program at a community college. That's why the scholarship also covers technical training programs at Grand Rapids Community College.

    If a 4-year college is not right for you, technical training or a certificate program can give you a leg up when it comes to finding a job you love. There is something for everyone.

  • Yes, this scholarship is restricted to families who make less than double the area median income. That's roughly $90,000 for a house­hold. If you make more than that amount, your student will still be eligible for a $1,500 scholarship, renewable for a total of four years. Please contact us for the details.

  • We know families all across our community work hard and want their students to be successful. Currently, we don’t have the resources to provide Challenge Scholars supports and scholarships to everyone in our community. What we learn and have created through Challenge Scholars is being shared with other schools who could adopt the program. The Grand Rapids Promise is a similar program covering up to 60 credit hours at Grand Rapids Community College. See for details.

  • Challenge Scholars students can move homes, but they must remain enrolled at Harrison Park or Westwood Middle, and Union High School. If your family moves and your student goes to a different school, they will no longer be eligible for the scholarship. School of Choice or a Student Transfer is an option for families who must move but want to remain with the program. The Grand Rapids Promise is a similar program covering up to 60 credit hours at Grand Rapids Community College to any student who lives in and graduates from a high school in the city of Grand Rapids. See for details.

  • We don't ask about the immigration status of Challenge Scholars. However, every college has its own rules about undocumented students. When a student who is undocumented is accepted to a college, the Challenge Scholars team will work with the college and family to put together a financial aid package that covers most of the tuition and fees.

  • The Challenge Scholars scholarship covers tuition and fees that are not covered by a Federal Pell Grant. Room and board is not covered by this scholarship, though other scholarships may be available to help with those expenses.

    To get a Pell Grant, a student needs to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Form during his/her senior year at Union High School. Learn more about a Pell Grant and FAFSA.

    If you are non-US citizen, you may not qualify for the Pell Grant, but other resources are available to help pay for college. The Federal Student Aid website has a lot of information for students who may be undocumented. When the time comes, the Challenge Scholars team can help guide you through your options. We want to see all students succeed.

  • Challenge Scholars helps students in the classes of 2020 through 2028 on Grand Rapids West Side prepare for and pay for education after high school. Starting in 2020, students who graduate from Union High School with good grades, attendance and behavior will be able to attend college or technical training tuition-free.

  • Challenge Scholars is funded by Grand Rapids Community Foundation and its generous donors. Hundreds of people and organizations have made gifts to support this program.

    The Community Foundation partners with Grand Rapids Public Schools and other nonprofits to help students and families succeed along the way. Learn more about the Community Foundation at

  • If you want to qualify for the Challenge Scholars scholarship—yes, you do. We advise this because research tells us that students who enroll in college or a training program immediately after high school are more likely to complete their education.