State programs play a role in GRCC’s 7.1% increase in summer enrollment

Summer enrollment at Grand Rapids Community College is up 7.1% from a year ago and up 5.9% from pre-pandemic levels, with many students taking advantage of state programs covering the cost of in-district tuition.

GRCC’s second summer semester kicked off June 29, and fall semester classes start Aug. 30. The majority of classes are on campus, with online options also available for many classes to accommodate home and work responsibilities, and learning preferences.

“As our region recovers from the pandemic, many people are looking to gain new skills to advance in their careers,” says Tina Hoxie, GRCC associate provost. “GRCC is affordable and accessible, especially with the opportunities created by state and local programs. We’re excited many people are taking their first steps back during our summer semester and can stay on track by enrolling in fall classes.”

Cost-saving measures

GRCC froze tuition rates for the 2021-22 academic year and is waiving online course fees through the fall semester. The college also is changing its parking fee structure, allowing students to pay once a day, making it easier for students to attend classes and access services at the downtown campus.

Summer enrollment slipped about 1.1% during the pandemic year but has rebounded, with 6,600 students taking classes — up 7.1% from 2020 and 5.9% from 2019.
Almost 1,500 students are attending summer classes through two state programs — Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect — that remove finances as an obstacle by covering in-district tuition costs.

Help from state, local programs

The window is closing for students who hope to take advantage of Futures for Frontliners, which is for people who worked during the state’s COVID-19 shutdown. People accepted by the state for the program must start classes by the fall 2021 semester to use the benefit. Additional information is available at

The Michigan Reconnect program is for students ages 25 and older who don’t already have a college degree. Additional details are available at
Eligible students can also use Grand Rapids Promise Zone scholarships, which cover tuition and other expenses, to attend GRCC as guest students. Additional information is at

Potential students can start the enrollment process at They can also contact the Enrollment Center by phone at 616-234-3300 and by email at to be connected to their personal enrollment specialist.

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.