5 entire high schools in Chicago get full college scholarships : NPR

Your complete pupil physique of 5 public excessive faculties in Chicago will study that they’re getting a full scholarship to one among 20 schools — and one among their mother and father also can get a scholarship.


College students at 5 Chicago excessive faculties do not have to fret about how they are going to pay for school. They’re a part of a rare program. And Sarah Karp, of member station WBEZ, was there at the moment when college students at one of many faculties came upon about it.

SARAH KARP, BYLINE: A DJ kicked off the meeting whereas mother and father and college students with pompoms of their fingers questioned what was happening. The auditorium at Juarez Excessive College on Chicago’s southwest facet was packed. Quickly sufficient, entrepreneur Pete Kadens took the stage.


PETE KADENS: I ask that you just give me your undivided consideration only for 30 seconds right here whereas I convey a very essential message – as a result of, like I mentioned, nobody walks out of this room the identical at the moment.

KARP: Kadens then instructed them that they are all getting faculty scholarships. That is tuition, room and board, books and charges. They’ll select from 20 schools. And never solely that, however one among their mother and father can also get a scholarship to go to varsity or to a job coaching program.

Whereas full rides have been awarded earlier than, this can be a massive deal. Each pupil, from freshmen to seniors in 5 Chicago excessive faculties – 4,000 altogether – are getting the information this week that they are going to have scholarships ready for them. It is being paid for by Hope Chicago, a bunch began by Kadens and different philanthropists.

When the announcement was made at Juarez, the auditorium of principally low-income, principally immigrant mothers and dads erupted.


KARP: Tears began streaming from Kimberly Lopez’s eyes, and her buddy hugged her.

KIMBERLY LOPEZ: I could not assist however simply, like, cry and take into consideration, like, all the restrictions. And that was, like, the one factor that was limiting me to my faculty training was, like, the monetary. And it was simply, like – it might have been such a tough factor.

KARP: Lopez’s 4 brothers and sisters and her mom and father work as laborers. Earlier than this announcement, her plan was to attempt to piece collectively scholarships and work to cowl bills.

Principal Juan Carlos Ocon interrupted the meeting to inform mother and father that this was additionally for undocumented immigrants. And once more, a burst of applause. Ocon says he is seen the hope drain out of the face of scholars after they notice they cannot get any monetary assist.

JUAN CARLOS OCON: It leaves me speechless in so some ways. I feel that when our undocumented college students realized that their dream of going to varsity might be fulfilled as a result of that impediment, that barrier is not current, the sky is the restrict for these college students.

KARP: Michelle Miller-Adams is with the Upjohn Institute for Employment Analysis. She says the scope of what’s being supplied is extraordinary. She’s studied packages that supply college students a certain technique to pay tuition, typically referred to as promise packages. However she says few pay for every thing.

MICHELLE MILLER-ADAMS: And the superb factor is it really works for a lot, a lot much less beneficiant packages. So if the message round affordability is straightforward sufficient and it may be delivered persistently all through Okay-12, it adjustments what college students do after they end highschool.

KARP: Miller-Adams additionally does not know of a program providing mother and father a free experience. Brenda Munoz is a stay-at-home mother who was planning to return to work. She says it will fully change her trajectory.

BRENDA MUNOZ: So all my test was going on to her college as a result of, like I instructed her, we’re a group.

KARP: Now she has a brand new plan.

MUNOZ: I will college. I’m going to high school. There isn’t any staying house, you recognize? In the event that they’re giving the father or mother a chance, too, hey, why not take it, you recognize? Let’s dream massive.

KARP: These offering these scholarships assist giving mother and father and their kids a free faculty training will go a good distance towards lifting up complete communities.

For NPR Information, I am Sarah Karp in Chicago.


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