Western supports new Grand Rapids scholarship recipients

Contact: Deanne Puca
Students walking on a patio and up steps.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University's student support services will be front and center, welcoming recipients of a new full academic scholarship for those attending select schools on Grand Rapids' west side.

Western is partnering with the Grand Rapids Community Foundation's (GRFC) Challenge Scholars program. WMU will offer two full-tuition scholarships per year for students who participate in the Challenge Scholars program and attend Harrison Park School or Westwood Middle School and graduate from Union High School.

The scholarship covers tuition and fees while offering the potential for additional funds through the foundation for expenses. In addition, students at Union will have an assigned admissions counselor to help them with the admissions process and to help students become aware of the multitude of campus services that will help them as a WMU student. Western's tutoring and writing coaching, career and employment advising, resources for first-generation college students and student financial aid, among other services, will support them as they learn, grow and ultimately graduate.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation is led by President Diana R. Sieger, who saw a natural synergy with Western as a two-time Bronco alumna.

"Grand Rapids Community Foundation is committed to providing equitable access to education and the necessary support for students in our community. Having higher education partners who share this commitment to the long-term success of students is critical to our work," says Sieger. "What I know about Western Michigan University is that the faculty and administration are not only focused on creating access, but they share our commitment to supporting students holistically and walking alongside them as they persist toward their academic and career goals. We are proud to have them as a partner."

As they begin their journey at Western, these Challenge Scholars will have access to resources such as Career and Student Employment ServicesCenter for Academic Success ProgramsOffice of Student TransitionsStudent Success Services and WMU Signature.

"We are excited to welcome GRCF Challenge Scholars to WMU and want to provide a great start to their college experience," says Dr. Deveta Gardner, associate dean of University College, which houses student resource programs. "We help students engage from day one, connect them to WMU people and programs to help them find their purpose and succeed in their academic career, professional career and their life."

Western’s support of this scholarship program is an example of the University's ongoing commitment to community partners in service of making higher education accessible and attainable to all, adds Dr. Jennifer Bott, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

"We are grateful for this opportunity to partner with GRCF and to help Challenge Scholars pursue their passion and develop their purpose," Bott says. "We have the staff and programs in place to ensure that they will be successful and that they can truly thrive."

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