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Mayor Emanuel and City Colleges of Chicago Announce Three More Universities Join Chicago Star Partnership; Star Applications Up 20 Percent for Fall 2016

4/14/2016 12:00 AM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman today announced three 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 pursuing four-year degrees following their graduation from City Colleges of Chicago.

Dominican University, Northwestern University, and Robert Morris University have joined twelve other Chicago colleges and universities signing on to offer Star Scholars—high-achieving Chicago Public Schools (CPS) graduates who complete an associate’s degree at City Colleges—financial support to continue their education.

“I commend Dominican, Northwestern, and Robert Morris for joining the other 12 Chicago colleges and universities who have stepped up to create a clear path for our students from high school to community college and on to a four-year university,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These institutions recognize the potential of our hardworking students so I want to thank them for joining our effort to help break down the financial barriers to a college education and provide more ladders of opportunity to a great career and a stronger future." 

In its first year, the Chicago Star Scholarship has enabled more than 1,000 CPS graduates to pursue their degree from CCC free-of-charge. The first cohort of Star Scholars has achieved a 94 percent retention rate, suggesting that students enrolled in this program are more likely to persist in their coursework toward a degree. So far, applications to the Star Scholarship for 2016 are up by more than 20 percent over last year, with four months remaining for students to apply.

“A college degree is not a luxury, today it is a requirement for a family-sustaining career,” said City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman. “These commitments from our four-year university partners not only make a bachelor’s degree affordable, but also give these hard-working students plenty of options to find the transfer destination that works best for them.” 

The newest Chicago Star Partnership awards are outlined below:

  • Northwestern University will offer admitted Star Scholars benefits of up to $50,000/year towards a bachelor’s degree.
  • Dominican University will admit any Star Scholar who graduates from a CCC with an Associate Degree and a minimum GPA of 3.0 and those students will be eligible to receive a Dominican Star Scholar Award, including awards ranging from $8,000 to $12,000 for each of their two years of study. Star Scholars who are members of Phi Theta Kappa will also receive an additional $2,500 PTK Scholarship.
  • Robert Morris University will provide up to 20 scholarships of $10,000 to qualifying Star Scholarship graduates. Additionally RMU will offer Star Scholars the opportunity to explore a second major at no tuition cost.

These institutions join Columbia College, DePaul University, Governors State University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University, National Louis University, North Park University, Northeastern Illinois University, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Roosevelt University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Chicago in the Chicago Star Partnership.

Each of the 15 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.

“Northwestern University has always sought to attract the best students, both nationally and here in Chicago, and provide them with the financial support needed to obtain a Northwestern education. Through this partnership and others, we hope to make it possible for more students from low- and middle-income families and who are first-generation college students to attend Northwestern,” President Morton Schapiro said.

CPS students must meet specific criteria to be chosen as Star Scholars at City Colleges of Chicago. These students must graduate with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, they must demonstrate “completion ready” ability with an ACT math and English score of 17, and they 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. 

It is estimated that students who complete the first two years 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. 

The Star program is one of many reforms created under the City Colleges of Chicago’s Reinvention effort, which has directed 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. Furthermore, since its launch in 2010, Reinvention has equipped all of the City Colleges 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. As a result, 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.   

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