With an aim to break down the barrier that is the increasing cost of a college education, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday announced the "Chicago Star Scholarship," a program that offers select Chicago Public Schools graduates a free ride to classes at one of seven of Chicago's City Colleges.
A CPS graduate who earned earned a grade point average of 3.0 or higher, who placed into college-level math and English, who applied for financial aid, and who enrolled in one of the City College's "Pathways to Success" programs would be earn the scholarship.
"Our commitment is to make sure that at every educational level we are preparing people, the citizens and the residents of the city of Chicago, with a college education that gets them a career and a good-paying job, and making sure that they have what they need to succeed," Emanuel said at a press event at the Chicago Cultural Center.
The program will cover tuition, fees and offer book waivers not covered by federal and state grants for three years. Full-time tuition, school fees and books run about $4,400 a year for city residents, according to City Colleges.
Emanuel said the scholarships will be covered by "reforms" and more efficient balancing of the budget at the City Colleges system.
Chicago Teacher's Union President Karen Lewis, Emanuel's potential big opponent in February's mayor election, called the announcement a "desperate political move."
"I’m glad he’s in a giving mood and glad he’s interested in funding them," the Chicago Sun-Times' Fran Spielman and Lauren Fitzpatrick quoted Lewis as saying. "Basically, it just sounds like desperation to appeal to people he doesn’t appeal to."