July 18, 2013

Mayor Emanuel and CPS CEO Byrd-Bennett Announce CPS High School Students Earn Record $400 Million in College Scholarships

Amount Given in Scholarship Awards is nearly 28 Times Higher Since District Began Tracking Scholarship Data in SY2004-2005

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced today that CPS high school students have been offered record college scholarship awards of nearly $400 million this past school year – an increase of $133 million from School Year 2011-12. Students earned scholarships in a variety of areas, including academic, talent-based, athletic, organizational and need-based awards.

“The impressive number of scholarships awarded reflects not only the relentless hard work of our students, teachers and families but also the progress we are making to level the playing field for children of all backgrounds to pursue college or a career,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “A college or vocational education opens the door to countless opportunities and puts our children on a path to succeed in a competitive 21st century economy. This announcement marks a step forward in our quest for all students to achieve academic excellence, and we will continue next school year pushing every student to excel in the classroom and receive more scholarships that will unlock their fullest potential.”

This past school year 2012-2013, records that students have been offered $399,917,411 in scholarship award dollars. Scholarship dollars from previous years include:

2011-12: $266,718,384

2010-11: $147,000,000

2009-10: $143,522,401

2008-09: $213,118,384

2007-08: $156,903,427

2006-07: $82,182,601

2005-06: $20,810,767

2004-05: $14,401,520

“This represents a tremendous achievement on the part of our students and their support networks including their families, teachers and counselors who have worked tirelessly to help make the dream of a college education possible,” said CEO Byrd-Bennett. “Too often the price of college is a barrier to entry for deserving and motivated youth.  These scholarship dollars will remove the financial barrier facing many of our students today and put them on a path to a brighter future for success in both college and life.”

This scholarship data is collected by high schools and reported to Central Office.  The jump in scholarship money is due in large part to the coordinated efforts taken by high school counselors, college and career coaches and specialists, teachers, principals, community members, network staff and Central Office to increase students’ readiness for college and consistently communicate scholarship opportunities with students and parents.

CPS staff worked together in a variety of ways to help students achieve the highest-ever total of scholarship dollars, including:

  • Distributed monthly scholarship bulletin to let students and school staff know about scholarships they are eligible for with approaching deadlines
  • Hosted scholarship information meetings for students and parents with tips for preparing a competitive application
  • Partnered with City of Chicago’s Treasurer’s Department to provide financial literacy information to students who participate in CPS scholarship events
  • Direct Support by CPS’ Scholarship Project Manager to students applying for competitive scholarships such as POSSE and Gates Millennium Scholars.  

Over the past few years, CPS has undertaken deliberate efforts to increase students’ readiness for college and career by integrating an intensive student support model that includes a school counselor at every CPS school, college and career coaches at over 40 district high schools, college and career specialists at each high school network and multiple university partners.  This student support model has resulted in a district-wide Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion rate of over 90%. 

In addition to making sure that CPS students know about financial aid and scholarships that may be available to them, CPS has also built a strong partnership with City Colleges of Chicago to provide 700 dual enrollment seats as well as a dual credit program to encourage CPS high school students to receive college credits prior to graduation. 

Chicago Public Schools serves 403,000 students in 681 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.


# # #