By TONIA HILL
The University of Chicago (U. of C.) is launching the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Educators Awards Scholarship, which is a full-tuition scholarship to attend U. of C. for the children of CPS teachers.
The scholarship is an expansion of UChicago Promise, announced in 2012 by U. of C. and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The initiative was designed to help students and families in the city of Chicago gain admission to, pay for, and thrive in college. UChicago Promise and U. of C. offers resources and individual scholarships to help guide Chicago students to four-year institutions.
“I applaud the University of Chicago for recognizing Chicago’s dedicated teachers, firefighters, and police officers by helping their children achieve their dreams of a higher education,” said Emanuel in a written statement. “Chicago’s students continue to break high school graduation and college enrollment records, and UChicago Promise scholarships put a world-class education in reach for more Chicago students and families.”
UChicago Promise currently offers scholarships to the children of Chicago police officers and firefighters and U. of C. police officers. The program also provides full-tuition scholarships each year to select students attending CPS.
“This new scholarship recognizes the vital role that Chicago Public Schools educators play in the lives of our city’s students while building on the university’s longtime partnerships with local schools,” said Derek Douglas, the University of Chicago’s vice president for civic engagement in a written statement. “UChicago Promise programs help prepare hundreds of Chicago students for college each year, giving them essential tools for both academic and career success.”
There are 36 recipients of the first responder’s scholarship and hundreds of scholarships have been extended to students over the last 30 years.
In addition to providing scholarships for Chicago students, UChicago Promise also offers free programming for students, educators and counselors in Chicago. Also, Chicago high school students are provided with enrichment programs and free workshops to help them as they navigate the college admission and financial aid processes.
The new scholarship program will also recognize the role of school counselors, speech pathologists, and nurses, as well as support personnel such as teaching assistants, lunchroom workers, school clerks and custodians.
“This scholarship recognizes the contribution and sacrifice of our faculty who educate, inspire and help mentor Chicago’s youth,” said Janice K. Jackson, chief education officer of Chicago Public Schools in a written statement. “UChicago Promise and the University of Chicago have been essential partners in helping cultivate the next generation of Chicago’s leaders, and we’re thrilled our students and their families have this critical opportunity.”
U. of C. also recently expanded its efforts through the Odyssey Scholarship Program, which provides financial support and career development opportunities for low-income students and first generation students. A part of the expansion included eliminating student loans from need-based financial aid packages for all students who are eligible for need-based aid, as well as removing application fees for students applying for financial aid. Odyssey Scholars are offered a guaranteed funded internship the summer after their first year and lifelong professional development opportunities.
The university is also a founding member of the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success, a group of colleges and universities that are dedicated to improving college access for students of all backgrounds. The coalition offers a free platform of online tools to assist students in the college search and admission process.
Candidates for the CPS Educators Award must be accepted to the U. of C. and be the child of a full-time CPS teacher or school based staff member.