CHICAGO, Feb 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Hope Chicago, an innovative new college scholarship program committed to investing $1 billion in scholarships to Chicago’s students and their parents over the next decade, completed a historic week-long series of daily, surprise scholarship announcements for the entire student bodies at five Chicago public high schools.
In all, Hope Chicago awarded 4,000 students in 9th -12th grade and their parents the opportunity for free post-secondary education, as well as the possibility of economic security and improved stability and safety for themselves and their families and communities for generations to come.
Hope Chicago operates a transformative multi-generation scholarship model that seeks to redefine the education landscape in Chicagoled by former CPS CEO Dr. Janice Jackson. “I know from experience the promise of Chicago’s public school students, as well as what limits the ability of those in under-resourced neighborhoods to go to college and eventually build great careers, start businesses, add to the city’s economic vitality and contribute to the growth, stability and safety of their communities, shares Dr. Jackson. “The city and all of us who live and work here are missing out on so much potential when these students are unable to get the education they want because they do not have the financial resources and support networks they need to make their dreams come true. Now, with Hope Chicago, they do.”
4 days, 5 announcements, 4,000 lives changed forever
Hope Chicago Visited five South and West Side schools this week, resulting in 4,000 students, parents and guardians who have been empowered to build a better life with Hope Chicago scholarships:
Students dream big, but face barriers bringing their dreams alive
The good news is that more students than ever are graduating from Chicago’s public schools. Even better, that’s led to a surge in the number of students who want to go to college, with recent research from Hope Chicago showing 90% of Chicago’s 9th graders want to attend college.
Unfortunately, for a host of reasons – primarily financial – only 63% of CPS 9th graders enroll in college and only 27% graduate. Of students who dropout of college, 48% do so because they can’t afford to continue due to expenses ranging from housing and emergencies to minor ones like books and relatively transportation. Nine out of 10 low-income, first-generation college students do not earn their degree within 6 years of graduating high school.
And of students who do earn their degree, upon graduation they are, on average, $30,000 in debt– narrowing their opportunities to move forward with their lives and, in turn, impacting their families and communities. In fact, four years after graduating, 48% of Black students owe an average 12% more than they borrowed in the first place and Latino students still owe about 83% of their original loan 12 years after they’ve graduated.
Hope Chicago – delivering hope, serving Chicago
While other programs employ scholarship criteria like high GPAs or help students pay for college but not stay in college or pay for college but not all of college, Hope Chicago takes a totally different approach.
Hope Chicago scholarships do not have GPA requirements – if students have worked hard enough to graduate high school, Hope Chicago believes they deserve to attend college. Hope Chicago scholarships are comprehensive, too, paying for all of college, not just tuition or traditional dormitory life. As importantly, Hope scholars, as they are known, receive extra support before they start college with mentoring and counseling starting in high school and then, once in college, “wraparound” support that includes non-tuition costs such as books, food and housing .
“With Hope Chicago, students can worry less about how they’ll pay for and stay in college or trade school and more time being the best students they can be,” says Pete Kadensco-founder and co-chairman of Hope Chicago, whose family foundation has invested $11 million in the organization. “Hope Scholars will know that when challenges arise—and that’s life, challenges always arise—they can turn to Hope Chicago and our community partners for the help and support they need to succeed.”
Hope Scholars can use their fully funded scholarships at one of Hope Chicago’s 20 partner colleges, universities, or other educational programs across the state of Illinois.
It’s not all about students, it’s about their parents, too
Hope Chicago scholarships are not for high school students only – they’re for their parents or guardians, as well, a first-of-its-kind multigenerational approach intended to help lift families entire out of poverty. While students who graduate build their own economic security over time, parents who graduate college or complete other post-secondary educational opportunities build more immediate pathways to better jobs, higher incomes and overall enhanced quality of life for their families and the communities in which they live . In fact, research shows that highly educated families have three times the income than other families.
So Hope Chicago takes a more holistic approach to who has an opportunity to go (or go back) to school and where, with opportunities for parents to start or return to two- or four-year college or attend industry training or certification programs to complete their education. Once in school, Hope Scholar parents will have the same stay-in-school services as their Hope Scholar children, giving both an opportunity to support one another and succeed together. With Hope Chicago, parents don’t have to put their dream on hold, either.
A bigger, better and brighter future for Chicago
Hope Chicago’s Goals for the city’s students, their parents and its communities are ambitious, but so are the students and parents. Hope Chicago seeks to help. To succeed, Hope Chicago is on its way to raise the $1 billion it needs to ensure that Chicago continues to thrive, but it still needs the support of the city’s businesses, nonprofit organizations and citizens. Executive Leadership Advisory Board members, Walgreens, Mielle Organics, BMO Harris, Monroe Capitaland wintrust, As well as a number of other corporations, private family foundations, and financial institutions, have already stepped up, but additional support is needed.
“A college education is a gamechanger – and thanks to Hope Chicago, the students and parents at these five Chicago high schools have an incredible opportunity to earn a degree with zero debt. This is a groundbreaking initiative to support two generations in one bold action. What Hope Chicago is achieving with this announcement is transformative, and I’m so proud to see it brought to scale in Illinois.”
—Illinois Governor JB Pritzker
“Hope Chicago’s scholarship program is a tremendous opportunity for our CPS students and parents to build a path towards a successful future. When our students enter post-secondary education and the workforce, they become an integral part of their communities and contribute to the local economy, benefiting residents and the city. It’s a win for everyone. I’m grateful for Hope Chicago’s outstanding support of our students and families.”
—Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot
“Hope Chicago is taking a much-needed innovative approach to investing in the future of CPS students and their futures by transforming how and to whom scholarships are awarded, not only giving them opportunities for a better life, but creating an atmosphere in which all of us can benefit from their talent, skills and leadership.
—Chicago Public Schools CEO Pedro Martinez
“When we launched Hope Chicago, we were aiming to do something no other scholarship program in Illinois has ever done, and that’s to offer debt-free scholarships to CPS students and their parents, a unique multi-generational approach that will create new opportunities not only for students but entire families to build economic success and stability. Hope Scholars won’t just be multi-generational, they’ll make an impact that will last for multiple generations to come.”
-Hope Chicago co-founder Ted Koenig
“As one of the largest employers in Illinois And a leading provider of local healthcare and wellbeing for all, Walgreens is committed to caring for our communities today and investing in them for the future. Because education is fundamental to good health, removing financial barriers for students and their families in need so they can pursue higher education is critical. We are inspired by this initiative and proud to support Hope Chicago.”
–Roz BrewerCEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance
Hope Chicago b-roll and photos are available here:
For more on Hope Chicago, visit hopechicago.org or contact [email protected] or 630-698-1088.
SOURCE Hope Chicago