1,800 CPS Students Surprised with Full College Scholarships

Photo: IL Governor, JB Pritzker at Benito Juarez Community Academy HS

Tuesday the entire student body at Benito Juarez Community Academy High School and Al Raby High School (1,800 students in total) received a surprise visit from Hope Chicago and were told that they and their parents are receiving full, debt-free college scholarships to partner colleges and universities.

In total this week, Hope Chicago will award 4,000 students in 9th-12th grade and their parents (or guardians) the opportunity for debt-free post-secondary education, a chance to change the economic trajectory of their lives that they may have dreamed of but assumed would be financially out of reach.

Today, more CPS students are graduating from high school than ever before–90% of surveyed CPS 9th graders say they want to go to college, yet only 63% enroll and only 27% graduate, according to a survey from Hope Chicago, a unique new scholarship program led by former CPS CEO Janice Jackson, that, in a historic first, offers CPS students and their parents’ debt-free college scholarships.

“As a life-long educator, I understand the barriers that college students face as they enter the higher education system. Many of those – financial, social, psychological, and emotional – have been further exaggerated by the COVID-19 pandemic hindering student success,” said Dr. Janice Jackson, CEO of Hope Chicago. “Hope 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.”

Hope Chicago Chicago DefenderEstablished in September 2021, Hope Chicago is a unique new scholarship program whose mission is to employ a transformative multi-generation scholarship model that seeks to redefine the education landscape in Chicago. Led by former Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Dr. Janice Jackson, Hope Chicago will raise and invest $1 billion in scholarships and other support over the next decade for Chicago students and their parents to attend college or trade school, effectively creating pathways to economic success for multiple generations of Chicagoans.

“Education is the essential key to bridge that can move underserved communities toward prosperity. I know first-hand the impact of Hope Chicago will change this city for the better, especially for Black and Brown families who are often left behind by the education system,” said City of Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “By investing in Chicago students, parents, and their futures, Hope Chicago is also investing in the future of our city’s social and economic outcomes – one with a qualified, skilled, and educated workforce. And with Dr. Janice Jackson at the helm, the sky’s the limit for this important new venture.”

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. Hope Chicago covers tuition and wraparound services and support, including non-tuition costs like books, food, and housing as well as mentoring and counseling starting in high school. 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 entire families out of poverty.


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