Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson today announced that the class of 2019 received the most college scholarship offers in district history —$1.47 billion based on preliminary data —and that a record 48.6 percent of graduates earned early college credentials while in high school. Both early college and career credentials and scholarships help make college and other postsecondary paths more attainable and affordable for students.
“Early college and career credentials are an increasingly critical part of a 21stcentury high school education, and with our graduation rates also reaching record levels, it is more important than ever before that students leave our high schools prepared for the next step in their academic careers,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “These results reflect the incredible commitment and dedication of teachers, principals, administrators and school staff, and underscore the impact our investments have made in the brightest and hardest-working students in the nation.”
“As a former high school principal, I know that preparing students for life after high school starts with exposing them to rigorous, college-level coursework and helping them examine the wide range of postsecondary options available to them,” said CPS CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “By expanding access to AP and IB classes, and ensuring students have the help they need to apply for colleges and scholarships, a record number of our students are graduating and heading into college prepared for success.”
More Students than Ever Before Graduating with Early College and Career Credentials:
A total of 11,237 students in the class of 2019 earned early college and career credentials (ECCC) this year, which represents a more than 400-student and a two-percentage point increase over last year when 46.6 percent of graduates earned credentials. Attainment rates increased for African American, Latinx, white and Asian students, and all of the district’s high school networks saw increases by as much as 6.8 percentage points, which highlights the accessibility of early college programs throughout every area in the city.
Students are able to earn early college and career credentials by achieving passing scores on Advanced Placement (3 or above) or International Baccalaureate tests (4 or above), or by earning an industry certification in Career and Technical Education, college credit in Dual Credit or Dual Enrollment courses, the State Seal of Biliteracy, or a program credential in JROTC.
CPS graduates earned credits through the following course options:
- AP: 6,199 students earned AP credit, an increase of more than 500 students compared to last year.
- IB: 1,277 students earned credit for IB exams. CPS has the largest network of IB schools in the nation.
- CTE: 1,622 students, more students than ever before, earned an industry certification through CTE.
- Dual Credit: 3,371 students earned college credit through a dual credit course.
- Dual Enrollment: 1,651 students earned college credit through a dual enrollment course.
- JROTC: 934 students earned a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps credential.
- Seal of Biliteracy: 1,415 students earned the State Seal of Biliteracy.
Record-High Scholarship Offers:
Class of 2019 graduates also earned a record $1.47 billion in college scholarship offers, which is over $100 million more than last year and nearly four times the $400 million in scholarships awarded to the 2013 graduating class. Over 100 students were selected for either the prestigious Gates Scholarship or Posse Foundation Scholarship, with many more receiving other highly-selective scholarships such as the Golden Apple Scholarship, Coca-Cola Foundation Scholarship and Global Citizen Year Fellowship.
At the forefront of the district’s plan to ensure every student leaves high school with a concrete postsecondary path is Learn.Plan.Succeed., the district’s equity-centered initiative that helps students across the city complete the necessary steps toward graduation while simultaneously developing goals that treat graduation as a milestone rather than a destination.
Building on Success:
To move the district toward its ambitious Five-Year Vision goal of having 60 percent of students graduate with at least one early college and career credential by 2024, the district has made additional investments to increase the prevalence of proven academic programs in high-needs communities and expanded employer partnerships in ways that reinforce the positive impact of Learn.Plan.Succeed. and other initiatives. These investments include:
- Expanding IB and AP Opportunities: As part of its largest-ever academic program expansion, CPS established new IB programs at seven schools, including its first high school on the West Side. The district also recently expanded the AP Capstone program, an intensive research- and writing-based program that builds critical thinking and presentation skills, to six additional high schools for this school year.
- Strengthening Career and Technical Education Programming: Following a series of meetings this summer with teachers, principals, parents and community members, Mayor Lightfoot and CEO Jackson set new goals to increase the quality of CTE programs in the district. Under their plan, by 2023, all CTE students will receive career exposure experience, such as a job shadow or career site visit, by the time they graduate, and employer partnerships will be expanded to ensure half of all eligible CTE students are matched with internships or apprenticeships.
- Continuing a Strong Partnership with City Colleges of Chicago: In April, CPS and City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) received $300,000 in grants to establish Career Launch Chicago: an initiative that focuses on providing CPS students with work-based learning opportunities in fields such as manufacturing and healthcare. The district and CCC will also continue to expand access to dual credit and dual enrollment programs.