[dropcap]M[/dropcap]ayor Rahm Emanuel and City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) Chancellor Cheryl Hyman announced this week that five additional colleges have joined the Chicago Star Partnership, a group of four-year colleges and universities who have committed to providing scholarships to Chicago star scholars following their graduation from CCC.
University of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University, North Park University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago have joined seven other Chicago colleges and universities signing on to offer star scholars—high-achieving Chicago Public Schools (CPS) graduates who earn associate degrees and other certifications at City Colleges—with financial support to continue their education.
“By breaking down financial barriers to a college education, the Chicago Star Scholarship is opening up more pathways to the middle class for hardworking Chicago students and by expanding this partnership, we are taking our city’s commitment to making college more affordable to the next level,” said Emanuel. “I want to thank these 12 university partners for helping Chicago’s star scholars gain access to a four-year degree. We must continue working to ensure that a college education is within the reach of every hardworking Chicago student, regardless of their ability to pay.”
These institutions join DePaul University, Governors State University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University, National Louis University, Roosevelt University and the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Chicago Star Partnership.
In its inaugural year, the Chicago Star Scholarship has enabled nearly 1,000 CPS graduates to pursue their degree from City Colleges free-of-charge. This expansion of the Chicago Star Partnership ensures star scholars will have further opportunities to pursue a four-year degree at a significantly reduced cost after successfully completing an associate degree at one of the City Colleges of Chicago.
“Most of the time, a high school diploma simply doesn’t cut it anymore,” said Hyman. “Not only can City Colleges of Chicago equip these high-achieving students with an associate degree at an affordable price, but these partnerships will significantly reduce the cost of attaining a bachelor degree that employers in many industries increasingly want to see on an applicant’s resume.”
Each of the 12 university partners have committed to creating an opportunity that will allow star scholars to continue their college education following a successful completion at CCC. These packages range in monetary value between $2,500 and nearly $50,000 each year. To qualify, star scholars must graduate with a 3.0 GPA, and while some of these awards require additional academic merits, all are “last dollar” scholarships that may be applied in addition to other financial aid awards earned. Furthermore, each of the partners has committed to providing Star students transferring in with advising and transition supports.
Emanuel and CCC launched the Star Scholarship in 2014 to ensure that all hard-working students would have an opportunity to pursue college coursework, despite any financial barriers they might face. CPS students must demonstrate “completion ready” ability with an ACT math and English score of 17 and the student must enroll in one of CCC’s structured, relevant pathways.
Students meeting these criteria will be offered waivers for all tuition and books for up to three years at City Colleges of Chicago. For students who did not meet the completion ready criteria but have achieved a 3.0 GPA, they may participate in remedial coursework until they demonstrate college-readiness, and will then receive the scholarship and tuition waiver.
The Star Scholarship program is one of many reforms created under the City College’s Reinvention effort. Since the Reinvention began in 2010, CCC has made significant investments in all seven colleges to ensure that all degrees and certificates are made relevant to the demands of the workplace and four-year institutions, and to deliver enhanced academic supports for students to ensure that they have the tools and support they need to be successful in their pathway of choice. This year, CCC realized its highest graduation rate on record—17 percent—which is more than double the rate since the launch of the Reinvention effort.
For more information about the Chicago Star Scholarship at City Colleges of Chicago, go to: www.ccc.edu/starscholarship.