Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado announced Monday the expansion of the Star Scholarship to 12 Catholic schools.
"No parent should have to take a second job or take out a second mortgage to give their child a chance at a better future, which is why we created the Star Scholarship," Emanuel said in a statement. "Many experts say the greatest divide in America today is between those who have a college degree and those who don't. Here in Chicago, we have a better idea and a better bargain: Stop letting college be a divide, and let’s make it a bridge everyone has the chance to cross.”
Students will qualify to take part in this expansion of the Star Scholarship if they: 1) attend one of the 12 Chicago-based Big Shoulders Funds partner schools; 2) graduate from high school with at least a 3.0 GPA and are nearly college-ready, 3) are a Chicago resident, and 4) have family income that is less than $50,000 (approximately 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines for a family of four, slightly more than the cut off for federal free and reduced priced lunch.)
The Big Shoulders Fund partner high schools include: Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, De La Salle Institute, DePaul College Prep, Hales Franciscan, Holy Trinity High School, Josephinum Academy of the Sacred Heart, Mount Carmel High School, Our Lady of Tepeyac High School, St. Francis de Sales High School, St. Rita of Cascia High School, and Leo High School. More than half of 12th grade students at these schools qualify for free and reduced lunch and nearly 80 percent of students are either African-American or Latino students.
“Big Shoulders Fund is thrilled that through this partnership more of Chicago’s young people are now provided access to the City Colleges’ Star Scholarship Program and have an opportunity to potentially attend City Colleges free of cost,” said Josh Hale, President and CEO of the Big Shoulders Fund. “This is a tremendous opportunity in a time when college affordability can be a huge barrier for deserving students who have already made the most of their educational opportunity and are eager to take the next step.”
“This new partnership allows us to expand the reach of the Star Scholarship to even more students who want to pursue a college education, but do not have the finances to do so. With each new partnership, we are helping to create a more accessible community college system that connects our communities to opportunity and creates a more inclusive Chicago economy,” said City Colleges Chancellor Juan Salgado.
To ensure more students can access a pathway to college regardless of financial means, Emanuel created the Star Scholarship in 2014, with the first class starting in fall 2015. The program is open to undocumented students, students attending CPS charter public schools, and now, qualifying students from Big Shoulders Fund partner schools.
Now in its fourth year, the Chicago Star Scholarship has helped more than 6,400 CPS graduates – representing more than 75 zip codes and more than 200 high schools citywide – to enroll in college at no cost. Nearly two-thirds of Star Scholars are Latino, and 63% are female. Star Scholars have a retention rate of 86 percent, nearly double the average at City Colleges. Nearly 50 percent of first-time, full-time Star Scholars who started at City Colleges in 2015 graduated within three years.
Twenty-six college and university Star transfer partners provide transfer scholarships for eligible Star students to complete their bachelor’s degrees. These packages range in value from $1,000 to $50,000 each year and include advising and transition supports.
More than 820 Star Scholars have already transferred to more than 90 four-year colleges and universities, include more than 640 students who have gone on to attend one of the Star Scholarship transfer partner schools, where they have been offered more than $3.8 million in scholarships.
City Colleges has Star Scholarship transfer partnerships with these four-year colleges and universities: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia College, DePaul University, Dominican University, Elmhurst University, Governors State University, Illinois Tech, Illinois State University, Kendall College, Loyola University, Marquette University, National Louis University, North Park University, Northern Illinois University, Northeastern Illinois University, Northwestern University, Robert Morris University, Roosevelt University, Saint Xavier University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Chicago State University, Florida Memorial University, Stillman College, and University of Chicago.
CME Group, the Star program's first corporate partner, has provided 50 students with $5,000 scholarships and connected CCC students with paid summer internships at elite trading firms.
To learn more about the Star Scholarship, go to www.ccc.edu/starscholarship.