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Mayor Emanuel, City Colleges of Chicago honor graduating Star Scholars

Northwestern Provost Holloway joins celebration of grads heading to four-year colleges

Northwestern University Provost Jonathan Holloway joined Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other leaders for the 2018 Star Scholarship Celebration Aug. 21 to honor recent City Colleges of Chicago Star Scholar graduates who have transferred to four-year institutions. Northwestern will welcome four Star Scholars to campus this fall. 

Provost Jonathan Holloway
Student Amy Szkorla and her mother join Provost Holloway.

This is Northwestern’s second year participating in the initiative, which rewards industrious CPS students with an opportunity to pursue a degree or certificate at City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) at no-cost. Universities across Chicago have partnered with City Colleges to provide additional financial aid to Star Scholars seeking to transfer to four-year colleges and universities.

“Northwestern University is deeply committed to making college more affordable for talented, hard-working students, and we greatly value our partnership with Chicago and with the City Colleges of Chicago to assist low- and middle-income students with scholarships to help toward their degrees here,” said Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro.

"We especially welcome community college transfers, who bring a unique perspective to campus,” President Schapiro added. "We appreciate the strong leadership from the mayor and City Colleges on this program that ensures such critical opportunities for these students.”

CCC Chancellor Juan Salgado kicked off the evening at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago with remarks celebrating the diligent work and commitment of the Star Scholars, thanking their parents for their support and recognizing the university partners in attendance.

Mayor Emanuel spoke movingly about the importance of access to college and his goal to ensure committed students and their families don’t defer college dreams due to costs.

The highlight of the evening was a panel discussion featuring current Star Scholars, college advisors and a mother-daughter pair — Eileen and Amy Szkorla — who spoke about their experiences with City Colleges and the Star Scholarship program. After studying at Wright College for two years, Amy Szkorla will transfer in the fall to Northwestern, where she plans to enroll in Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences to study biology. 

More than 445 Star Scholar graduates have transferred to four-year colleges and universities since 2016, and many of the college and university partners have increased the number of Star Scholar transfer students accepted in the same time period.

“The Star Scholarship is about helping our hard-working students pursue the high-quality education they deserve without the burden of cost to receiving a degree, and I am incredibly proud of the hundreds of students who are now pursuing the future they deserve,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Our many college and university partners see the promise of our graduates and have been eager to help supports hundreds of students to pursue a four-year degree at an affordable price.”

Students in the Star Scholarship program are projected to graduate at a rate double the national average for first-time, full-time students at two-year public institutions. The 2018 Star Scholarship preliminary IPEDS graduation rate, which includes the Fall 2015 class, is 47 percent.

“Star is more than just a scholarship. It’s a tool that challenges our students to succeed,” said Salgado. “When ninth grade CPS students know that working hard guarantees them a tuition-free college experience, it gives them one extra motivator to keep their grades up.”

More than 800 students have graduated from City Colleges as part of the Star Scholarship program. Now entering its fourth year, the Chicago Star Scholarship has helped more than 5,300 CPS graduates — representing more than 75 zip codes and more than 200 high schools citywide — to enroll in college at no cost.

To date, Star Scholars have been earned more than $3.1 million in scholarship offers from Northwestern and other four-year colleges and universities, which include DePaul University, Dominican University, Governors State University, Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University, National Louis University, North Park University, Roosevelt University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Sixty-four percent of Star Scholars are Latino, and 60 percent are female. This program is open to undocumented students as well as to students attending CPS charter schools.

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