Community Foundation Grants 522 Scholarships to Local Students

In 1945, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation began awarding graduate-level scholarships to nurses to draw them back to Grand Rapids to address the shortage of nursing specialists in the community. Today, with the ongoing construction of the “Medical Mile,” the need for physicians, healthcare workers and nurses is more urgent than ever. For the 2007-2008 academic year, the Community Foundation is awarding over half a million dollars in scholarships and healthcare is the top major among scholarship recipients.

Earlier this spring, the Community Foundation processed 1,175 applications from high school, undergraduate and graduate students. Among the 12 academic majors applicants chose from, the top three picks were healthcare, business and law/social science.

Musically talented applicants were among the most fortunate students as 77 percent of music majors received scholarships due to the large number of funds restricted to music students. With only two scholarship funds specifically for healthcare students, 39 percent of those applicants were awarded scholarships this year. “A newly established fund will be able to grant to healthcare students starting next year, but with the development of Grand Rapids as a major medical center, the need for aspiring healthcare professionals will continue to grow,” said Ruth Bishop, who directs the Community Foundation’s scholarship program.

This year, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation is awarding $515,900 in scholarships, an increase of $8,800 from last year. In all, 522 students will receive scholarships. Awards range from $250-$5,000, and an average scholarship is $1,000.

  • 95 percent of scholarships are going to Michigan colleges and universities.
  • $249,850 (48 percent) of the awards are going to West Michigan colleges and universities.
  • Grand Valley State University students are receiving the most support with $104,300 in scholarships.
  • 65 percent of recipients are undergraduates.
  • 66 percent of recipients are female and 34 percent are male.
  • 22 percent of the students receiving a scholarship are minorities.
  • 27 percent of high school seniors awarded scholarships are Grand Rapids Public School graduates.