Promise Zone lowers eligibility standards.

April 18, 2022

Promise Zone lowers eligibility standards.

In March, the Mason County Promise Zone Authority Board voted to remove the high school grade point average from the scholarship eligibility criteria for the Promise Scholarship. For the class of 2022 and after, qualification will be based on residency and graduation from a Mason County-based high school. Academic performance in high school will no longer prevent local students from having an affordable pathway to higher education.  

On behalf of the Promise Zone, Board Chair Monica Schuyler emphasized that “removing the GPA threshold to receive the scholarship in no way means that the board feels students shouldn’t strive to do their best in high school, or that a high school GPA is not important.” 

Applicants will still be asked for their high school GPA in order to recommend and refer them to relevant academic support services in college. Schuyler said she believes that the expansion of the eligible population of graduates will help students to choose a career path that requires post-secondary education without being “burdened with student debt.”  

“Promise Zones are place-based scholarships, designed to support the community, its schools, its workforce, and businesses,” said Schuyler. 

Mason County Promise now joins the majority of Michigan’s Promise Zones, which do not have a GPA requirement because they leave high school GPA requirements to higher education institutions to determine. West Shore Community College, Mason County Promise Zone’s college partner, does not consider high school GPA for admission. This practice aligns with all community colleges in Michigan. However, certain academic programs at WSCC do require specific GPAs to become eligible and continue.  Federal financial aid also requires a 2.0 college GPA to be eligible for financial support. For this reason, the Promise Scholarship will maintain its longstanding requirement for scholars to earn a college GPA of 2.0 or higher. 

“Removing the (high school) 2.0 GPA requirement,” added Schuyler, “is a way we can support Mason County. Whether a student had a bad year, a rough home life, struggled with one subject, or was just immature, all should have the opportunity to further their education if they have the desire and are willing to put in the work. Promise Scholars live and work in Mason County, and while some may move away, the Promise Scholarship helps them on their path to be successful.”  

The Promise Scholarship covers tuition and mandatory fees at WSCC for eligible students up to four years after high school graduation, with a limit of 72 attempted credits. For more information on the Promise Scholarship, visit MasonCountyPromise.org.  

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