Mayor Emanuel and City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado to Present Commencement Cords to Graduating Star Scholars and Announce New Star Scholarship Transfer Partnership with Northern Illinois University (NIU)

April 29, 2019

Starting this fall, NIU will become the 26th Star Transfer partner, offering eligible Star Scholars pursing their bachelor’s degree in DeKalb $3,000 per year for two years

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado will announce that more than 25 four-year colleges and universities have now signed on to provide Chicago Star Scholars scholarships to complete their bachelor’s degree, with the addition of Northern Illinois University, during a cording ceremony recognizing Star Scholars graduating from City Colleges this year.  Students will wear the cords they receive this evening at City Colleges commencement next Saturday.

“Chicago high school students know that if they work hard and earn the Star Scholarship, the cost of tuition and books no longer stands in their way of attending college,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  “The further commitment of 26 transfer universities means Chicago Star Scholars have a clear path to a bachelor’s degree and beyond.”

To ensure more students can access a pathway to college regardless of financial means, Mayor Rahm Emanuel created the Star Scholarship in 2014, rewarding hard-working CPS students with an opportunity to pursue a degree or certificate at City Colleges at no cost.  Students are eligible for the Star Scholarship if they have graduated from a Chicago Public Schools (CPS) high school with a 3.0 GPA and test nearly college-ready in math and English, and enroll in a city Colleges structured, relevant pathway.  The program is open to undocumented students as well as to students attending CPS charter public 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

“Our four-year university and corporate partners recognize our Star Scholars’ hard work, and are rewarding their efforts by creating pathways that lead to economic opportunity and upward mobility,” said City Colleges Chancellor Juan Salgado.

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.

NIU, which is the program’s newest partner, will provide eligible transfer students with $3,000 in scholarship funds each year for two years to complete a bachelor’s degree. To qualify for the scholarship, students must be a Star Scholar and have completed an Associate in Arts or Science degree at City Colleges with a 3.0 GPA or higher and maintain that same GPA while at NIU.

“We are very excited to become a Star Scholarship transfer partner,” said NIU President Lisa Freeman. “NIU is devoted to being an agent for social growth, and this is a perfect example of our commitment to helping students from all backgrounds prepare for meaningful lives and careers.”

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.

In addition to NIU, 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, 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 To learn more about NIU, visit

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