Chicago Public School’s 2016 graduates earned a record-breaking $1.16 billion in scholarship offers.
The 2016 class’ total scholarships constitute a 20 percent jump in scholarship dollars from the prior year, an increase of more than $206 million. CPS says that the rise comes from the hard work of teachers, parents and college support staff in helping students navigate the scholarship search and application process, and also access to college-level coursework, preparing more students for the rigors of college.
“Every year, our students earn more scholarship awards to support the next step of their education, and every dollar earned represents the hard work by our students, their teachers, and school leaders who support their progress,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “We will continue to invest in opportunities that prepare our students for college while expanding those that reduce the barrier of cost, so that college enrollment is based on their merits, not on their family’s financial circumstances. I want to congratulate the class of 2016 for their hard work and determination in earning these awards and wish them luck as they move on to college and career.”
This year’s scholarship offers also show exponential growth from just four years before. The 2016 class of CPS students have earned almost four times more scholarships dollars than their 2011 predecessors. In the 2011-2012 school year, students received a total of more than $266 million compared to this year’s $1.16 billion, a 336 percent increase over the past five school years. CPS says that this growth shows that it is making progress toward reducing students’ financial burden of attending college.
“As an educator and administrator, one of my primary goals is to ensure that CPS students have the tools and resources needed to succeed beyond CPS,” CPS Chief Education Officer Jackson said. “Each school has a dynamic team of school counselors and postsecondary coaches who are always seeking to expand their capacity to provide students with scholarship opportunities that might have gone unnoticed or overlooked. The District will continue to provide tools that will make the scholarship search and application process more accessible to all CPS high school students.”
CPS also says its counselors and college and career coaches play a crucial role in ensuring that students receive the support needed to apply for college scholarships. In 2016, 6,862 students reported offers, an increase of 638 students from the previous school year. Additionally, 47 CPS high schools have shown increases in scholarship offers since last year.
The district’s plans to expand of college-level coursework by adding more STEM, IB, AP and Dual-Credit and Dual-Enrollment opportunities in schools across the city. Last year nearly 36 percent of CPS students earned one or more of the following college or career credentials, a 10-point increase from roughly 30 percent the year before.
Mayor Emanuel also recently shared his goal for at least half of all students earn college credit by 2019 to continue to improve participation in college-level coursework and college enrollment rates.