December 3, 2013

The City of Chicago and Northwestern University to Expand Access for CPS Students to Top Colleges

Northwestern Academy will Provide Free Rigorous Academics to Challenge CPS Students and College Counseling to Prepare them to Gain Admittance into a Top-Rated Public or Private University

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

The City of Chicago and Northwestern University today announced a new program to help Chicago Public School (CPS) students prepare for and gain admittance to selective colleges and universities. The Northwestern Academy is designed to help CPS high school students who are academically talented and enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program with supplemental educational opportunities and support services to challenge them in high school and prepare them for higher education at selective colleges and universities.

“The Northwestern Academy is an example of how an innovative partnership between one of the country’s top universities and CPS can expand access to high quality education options and open the door to unique learning opportunities and experiences for our students,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This program will also serve as another valuable tool to help CPS reach its goal for every student to be 100 percent college ready and college bound.”

The Northwestern Academy will target students who qualified for, but are not enrolled in, a CPS selective enrollment high school and are also enrolled in the free or reduced lunch program, a pool of about 1,250 students. A group of qualified students will be invited to apply, from which 50 CPS 9th grader finalists will be identified annually.

To challenge students now and prepare them for college later, the Academy will provide rigorous classes year round, academic tutoring, college counseling, test preparation, support from mentors and family workshops. Additionally, the Academy will design and initiate academic year programs focused on exposing CPS students to departments and faculty at Northwestern.

“Northwestern is deeply committed to supporting Chicago Public School students and providing opportunities for a world-class education that will prepare these students for college and careers,” said President Morton Schapiro. “Our involvement with Chicago schools is strong, far-reaching and growing.”

Recruitment for the first group of 50 prospective students is underway and selected students will be invited to apply this winter for the 4-year program. Academic enrichment and advising for students will begin in April and will continue through the summer. Eventually, 200 students in grades 9-12 will be part of the Academy, which will cost an estimated $5,000 to $6,000 per student per year to operate and will be funded through donations. The program will be free for students who attend.

The Academy will cultivate relationships with CPS K-8 schools to facilitate student nomination and high schools for on-site support for grades 9-12. The Academy will be held in one or two selected locations in downtown Chicago. The CTD summer programs will be held at Northwestern.

“The Northwestern Academy will provide programs and services designed to increase academic preparedness for college study,” said SESP Dean Penelope L. Peterson. “It will also enhance the development of social skills that support high academic achievement, cultivate peer support and enable low-income talented CPS high school students to envision a future at selective institutions of higher education.”

This month, eligible students will be invited to Northwestern University to apply for the program.  Applications are due in February. Interviews will follow and the program will start in April.

Questions may be directed for now to the e-mail address Students invited to apply eventually will be able to download paper applications online or fill one out online.

Northwestern Academy is another resource to meet the growing demand and pool of qualified applicants for selective enrollment schools, who are looking for additional challenges beyond AP, Honors, IB, STEM and other challenging curriculums offered at schools across the district.

Last year, 18,000 students applied for 3,000 freshman selective enrollment seats across the City.  The Mayor is committed to increasing the number of selective enrollment seats across the District and earlier this year, he announced New Jones College Prep will nearly double the number of students admitted and Walter Payton Prep, the state’s top ranked high school, will add 300 to 400 new selective enrollment seats.
The program also will help with the progress CPS has made with more students graduating and going to college than ever before. Last year, students at CPS reached a record-breaking graduation rate and received 400 million dollars in college scholarships.

# # #