Mayor, City Colleges and UIC announce new scholarship program

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, University of Illinois at Chicago Chancellor Michael Amiridis and City Colleges Chancellor Cheryl Hyman today announced a new tuition award that will enable Chicago Public Schools (CPS) graduates to pursue further education at significantly lower costs through eligibility for the new UIC Star Scholar Award, a UIC-funded education award, for two years. This new program will allow hard-working students $2,500 per year in additional tuition per year for two years support to access a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago following graduation from City Colleges.

Chicago Star Scholarships Press Conference

In its inaugural year, the Chicago Star Scholarship has enabled more than 800 Chicago Public School (CPS) graduates to pursue their Associate’s Degree and other credentials from City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) free-of-charge. Building on City efforts to remove financial obstacles to earning a college degree, students will now be eligible for the new UIC Star Scholar Award, a UIC-funded $2,500 per year education award, for two years.

“Having a college education should always be determined by a student’s willingness to work, not their ability to pay so today we are giving more Chicago students access to a degree from our City Colleges but also a four-year degree from UIC without the financial burden,” said Mayor Emanuel.  “I want to commend both UIC and the City Colleges of Chicago for their partnership in helping more Chicago students have access to a high quality 21st century education and the prospects of a middle class life that come with it.”

As part of the UIC Star Scholar Award, at least 250 Star Scholars who transfer from CCC to UIC with an Associate Degree and a 3.0 GPA, will be eligible to receive an Award of $5,000 over two years. The Award is at least $2,500 for each of their two years of bachelor’s degree completion at UIC, in addition to any other financial aid that the student qualifies for and receives.

In addition to providing a minimum of 250 Star Scholar graduates with a tuition award, all Star Scholars who have earned a GPA of 3.0 or higher will be ensured participation in the Guaranteed Admissions Transfer (GAT) program to UIC.

“UIC is honored to participate in the Star Scholar program and we are eager to welcome those Chicago students who are willing to work hard to achieve a quality education and provide them with a new pathway of affordability to achieve a four year degree,” said Michael Amiridis, UIC Chancellor.

“This new initiative reflects what the University of Illinois is all about—expanding world-class educational opportunities that transform young people’s lives and building on the pipeline of 21st century talent that is essential to move our state forward.  I’m proud of this new partnership with the City Colleges of Chicago and grateful to Mayor Emanuel for his support,” added Timothy Killeen, University of Illinois President.

This scholarship and other financial aid awards students may qualify for will significantly reduce the costs of obtaining a bachelor’s degree. In total, savings could reach up to $45,000 toward a four-year degree, when calculating the amount saved by attending CCC for two years compared to other area universities, plus the additional savings from the new UIC Star Award.

“A college credential is required for entry into family-sustaining careers in today’s economy, and for many careers, a bachelor’s degree is needed,” said Chancellor Cheryl Hyman of City Colleges of Chicago. “This partnership creates a seamless path for outstanding Chicago public high school grads to earn an associate’s and bachelor’s degree, saving at least $45,000 along the way.”

In addition to the opportunities for Star graduates, UIC and CCC have committed to intensify efforts to identify the best pathways to two- and ultimately four-year degree completion for all City Colleges students. Moving forward, all City Colleges students intending to transfer to UIC will benefit from increased transfer support by UIC, including a designated UIC transfer counselor at CCC and access to UIC resources for CCC students

UIC and CCC will also work to identify the best pathways to two- and ultimately four-year degree completion. Some pathways have already been completed; for example, every major in the UIC College of Business Administration has a pathway outlined for CCC students. In addition, cross-collaborative working groups will identify other highly sought-after bachelor’s degree programs to increase CCC to UIC pathways to degree.

To assist qualifying students in making a smooth transition, both UIC and CCC are designating additional resources to ensure high retention and completion rates for all transfer students. UIC will also make available to students key campus amenities and services—including a full-time advisor, student services and libraries—in order to facilitate their college retention and transition to UIC, and ultimately, college graduation.