Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) Chancellor Cheryl Hyman announced the Chicago Star Scholarship today that will help ensure more Chicago Public High School students are able to pursue the dream of college without accumulating burdensome debt. Through Chicago STAR Scholarship, City Colleges of Chicago will provide scholarships in the form of tuition, fee and book waivers to qualifying high school graduates, ensuring they can earn their associate degree at City Colleges of Chicago with no out of pocket costs.
“The Chicago Star Scholarships will open more doors of opportunity for more students in the City of Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Every student who is willing to work hard should have access to a quality education, regardless of whether they can afford it or not. This new scholarship program will remove a financial barrier to college and give many more students in Chicago a ticket to the middle class that a college education provides.”
Any CPS high school graduate who has a 3.0 GPA or higher, places into college-level math and English, and enrolls in one of CCC’s pathways will be eligible for the Chicago Star Scholarship. The pathway program helps students navigate the educational system and encourages them to focus on a clear career path and achieve their goals.
“We have worked hard to develop a Student GPS system and College to Careers that help students envision and follow a clear, relevant path through City Colleges to further college and careers and this is another step in our efforts to help students succeed,” said Chancellor Cheryl Hyman.
Students will be required to first complete the FAFSA to apply for financial aid. After application of federal and state financial aid grants, CCC will provide waivers to cover tuition, fees, and books for up to three years.
“CPS is grateful for our long-standing partnership with the City Colleges of Chicago, as we share in our commitment to providing a pathway for our students to attain success upon graduation,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “These scholarships will help to remove the financial barrier facing many of our students today and will help prepare them for success in college, career and life.”
CCC and CPS have partnered on other programs to provide Chicago Public High School students with college opportunities.
In April 2014, Mayor Emanuel, Chancellor Hyman, and CEO Byrd-Bennett announced more than 3,000 CPS students would be able to take college classes for free at CCC through the Dual Enrollment program, which allows qualified high school students to take college courses at any of the seven City Colleges of Chicago. These classes are free of charge and students earn credit that can be applied to a degree program at one of the City Colleges of Chicago or transferred to a four-year college or university upon graduation.
In October 2012, Mayor Emanuel, Chancellor Hyman, and CEO Byrd-Bennett also announced the expansion of the CCC Dual Credit program, tripling the number of schools where the program is offered. Through the Dual Credit program students enroll in college-level courses taught by qualified CPS teachers on high school campuses. The program will serve up to 1,000 students over the next school year.
CPS High School students recently set a new all-time highest graduation rate to date at 69.4 percent. The 2014 rate represents an increase of four percentage points—up from the 2013 rate of 65.4 percent. The rate for Chicago Publics School freshman on-track to graduate for the 2013-2014 School Year also set a new record at 84.1 percent, up 2.6 percentage points from the prior year, the highest recorded rate.
By starting at CCC, high school students can save significantly on the cost of a bachelor’s degree. Students who complete the first two years of college at one of the seven City Colleges and then transfer to a four-year institution can save up to $40,000 on the cost of a bachelor’s degree. CCC has transfer and articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities to simplify the transfer process and ensure students maximize their time and money.
About City Colleges of Chicago
City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) is the largest community college system in Illinois and one of the largest in the nation with 5,700 faculty and staff serving 115,000 students annually at seven colleges and six satellite sites. The seven colleges include: Richard J. Daley College, Kennedy-King College, Malcolm X College, Olive-Harvey College, Harry S Truman College, Harold Washington College and Wilbur Wright College. City Colleges also oversees: the award-winning Washburne Culinary & Hospitality Institute, the French Pastry School, the Parrot Cage Restaurant at South Shore Cultural Center, the Sikia Banquet Facility, five Child Development Centers, the Workforce Academy, the public broadcast station WYCC-TV Channel 20 and radio station WKKC-FM 89.3.
Under the leadership of Mayor Emanuel and Chancellor Cheryl Hyman, the City Colleges of Chicago is in the midst of a Reinvention, a collaborative effort to review and revise CCC programs and practices to ensure students leave CCC college-ready, career-ready and prepared to pursue their life's goals. Since the launch of Reinvention, City Colleges has awarded the highest number of degrees in its history and nearly doubled the graduation rate.