Hope Chicago Announces College Partners for Scholarship Program

The charity aims to provide $1 billion in college scholarships for Chicago Public School students and their parents or guardians over the next decade.

June 7, 2022 · Updated on June 8, 2022

Edited by Raneem Taleb-Agha
Hope Chicago Announces College Partners for Scholarship Program
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Photo by Scott Olson / Staff / Getty Images News / Getty Images

A Chicago charity committed to providing scholarships for thousands of Chicago Public School students and their parents has now partnered with 23 Illinois colleges to support its first cohort.

Earlier this year, Hope Chicago made headlines when it announced it would not only provide college scholarship opportunities for the student body at five Chicago public high schools but also for one parent or guardian of each scholarship recipient.

This week, it announced its first higher education partnerships, which include every public four-year college and university in Illinois, as well as all City Colleges of Chicago and four private institutions. Students in its first scholarship cohort — more than 4,000 Chicago Public School students — will be able to apply their scholarship towards tuition at the partner institutions.

Hope Chicago says that it intends to invest $1 billion in scholarships for students and their parents at Chicago Public Schools over the next decade.

"The transition for any scholar into a new postsecondary setting is a critical moment in time," Michele Howard, the chief program officer for Hope Chicago, said in a press release. "That's why we have developed such deep relationships with our partner colleges and universities that ensure a bridge of support ahead of high school graduation for our first cohort of Hope Scholars enrolling this fall."

To be eligible for the program, students must attend both 11th and 12th grade and graduate from one of Hope Chicago's five partner high schools, according to the program's website. Schools currently included in the program are the Benito Juárez Community Academy, Farragut Career Academy, Noble-Johnson College Prep, Al Raby School for Community and Environment, and Morgan Park High School.

The scholarship doesn't just cover tuition: Hope Chicago describes the program as a "gap-closing" scholarship that covers "the full cost of attending college after any grants or scholarships a student receives." In addition to tuition, it includes room and board, fees and surcharges, the cost of books, and a "small annual stipend" for other needs. Hope Scholars will also receive a laptop and will be able to apply for additional funds in case of an emergency.

Jackson, who was previously the chief executive officer of Chicago Public Schools, described a college degree as "the most powerful tool our students can use to maximize their career opportunities."

Hope Chicago's initial 23 partners represent a wide array of higher education institutions from both rural, suburban, and urban areas, including:

  • Arrupe College
  • Chicago State University
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Governors State University
  • Harold Washington College
  • Harry S. Truman College
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Illinois State University
  • Kennedy-King College
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • Malcolm X College
  • National Louis University
  • Northeastern Illinois University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Olive-Harvey College
  • Richard J. Daley College
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
  • University of Illinois Chicago
  • University of Illinois Springfield
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Western Illinois University
  • Wilbur Wright College

Hope Scholars can also attend colleges outside of that network and will be eligible to receive up to $1,000 toward their tuition per semester. The organization hopes to expand the program to more high schools each year, according to the organization's website.