All students at Benito Juarez Community Academy high school and Al Raby High School in Chicago will receive full, debt-free college scholarships, not just for themselves but also for their parents, according to a surprise announcement Tuesday from Hope Chicago, a new multigenerational scholarship program.
Hope Chicago, a nonprofit founded in September 2021, plans to surprise the student bodies of three additional schools this week with the same offer. The organization will award full scholarships to a total of 4,000 students and their parents or guardians. Scholarship recipients will be able to attend 20 partner institutions across Illinois, which include two-year and four-year colleges and trade and professional schools. The scholarships will also cover nontuition costs such as textbooks and room and board and come with wraparound supports, including academic and financial advising.
“As a life-long educator, I understand the barriers that college students face as they enter the higher education system,” Janice Jackson, CEO of Hope Chicago and former CEO of Chicago Public Schools, said in a press release. “Many of those—financial, social, psychological and emotional—have been further exaggerated by the COVID-19 pandemic hindering student success. Chicago has a bold vision and an ambitious goal. With the help of the community, civic and business leaders, we have the opportunity to redefine the education landscape in our city.”