GVSU students receive $163,000 from GRCF
For students preparing to attend or currently enrolled at a university, there are many scholarship opportunities available. The Grand Rapids Community Foundation awards numerous scholarships to Grand Valley State University students – especially those who live in the area or have financial need.
This year, GVSU students have received $163,000 in GRCF scholarships out of the roughly $1 million that was given by the foundation – the largest amount awarded to any Michigan university.
“Most of our scholarships focus on Kent County residents because donors want to focus on helping students in the area,” said Ruth Bishop, the education program officer for GRCF.
Bishop said that since many Kent County residents attend GVSU, it makes sense that the university would give more scholarships to those students instead of those at other Michigan universities. She also added that the foundation receives many more applications from GVSU students than from students of other universities.
Lori Dykstra, the public relations and marketing intern for the GRCF, said that about 80 percent of scholarships awarded went to students from Michigan colleges. The foundation received 2,167 scholarship applications this year, and has awards ranging from $500 to $10,000.
“None of our scholarships are specific to Grand Valley,” Bishop said. “Many donors want to support students from the area who attend local colleges.”
Students apply for these scholarships by completing a general online application that is on the GRCF website. Different selection committees then match up applicants to specific scholarships, Bishop said.
“We have over 77 different funds now that individual donors have established with us,” she said. “They set the criteria for that scholarship. Some leave (recipient requirements) more open ended while others are more specific. Selection committees then match the recipients to those guidelines. Most have an element of financial need or academic work that is based on FAFSA and the student’s transcript.”
On the online application, students are also required to fill out a statement about themselves to tell why they chose the university they are going to, what they are studying, career goals, plans to finance their education and information on past activities they have done to benefit their community.
“I would encourage students, especially residents of Kent County, to apply,” Bishop said. “Many students think it’s only for students entering college, but many scholarships go to students already in college. We have scholarships available for grad students too.”
The online application is available between January 1 and April 1. For more information on how to apply, visit www.grfoundation.org.