Chicago Public Schools and Mayor Emanuel Congratulate 35 Gates Millennium Scholars for the Class of 2015 

This Year’s Class Claims Most Millennium Scholars of School Districts Nationwide
Tuesday, May 5, 2015                      

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CPS Office of Communications
Phone: 773-553-1620

CHICAGO—Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Interim CEO Jesse Ruiz today congratulated 35 students who were awarded scholarships by the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program. The program offers competitive, needs-based scholarship to 1,000 students across the country each year with a grant that can be used to pursue a degree in any undergraduate major at an accredited college or university. This year’s class is the sixth in the past seven years in which CPS has boasted more recipients than any other school district in the nation.

“Congratulations to this year’s Gates Millennium Scholars for their outstanding academic success,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The City of Chicago is proud of the hard work of our students as well as the teachers, parents and principals who helped support this tremendous achievement. Chicago Public School students across the District continue to raise the bar of excellence as they prepare for college, career and a bright future.”

Last school year, the Class of 2014 was awarded 44 Gates scholarships and received more than $800 million in total scholarship dollars, more than any in the previous year and double from the year prior. Students received academic, athletic, organizational, talent, and need-based scholarships that enabled them to enroll in colleges and universities across the country. This year, the District is on pace to increase scholarship dollars, and graduate more students than ever before.

“We are very proud of the Class of 2015 students who have been accepted to the prestigious Gates Scholars program, and we must also acknowledge the families, teachers and counselors who have supported them along the way," said Interim CPS CEO Jesse Ruiz. “These scholarships suggest a bright future ahead for our winners, removing the financial barrier facing too many of our students, and allowing them to go on and become successful in college, career and life."

Each year roughly 50,000 African-American, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific Islander and Native-American students apply for the 1,000 Gates Scholarships. Recipients have a 3.3 minimum grade-point average, and are also selected because of their community service, leadership, and ability to complete a challenging application that includes answering eight different essay questions. Students are also nominated by an educator and receive community recommendations about their contributions outside the classroom.

The monetary value of a Gates Scholarship is estimated to be worth more than $250,000, depending on where a student decides to enroll in college. The scholarship pays the balance between what the family can afford and the total cost of tuition.

This year’s Gates Scholars represent a range of high schools, including neighborhood, selective enrollment, charter and career academies. This year, the 35 students awarded represent 22 CPS high schools, including:

Chicago Math & Science Elementary Charter
Corliss High School 
Dunbar Vocational Career Academy 
Epic Academy High School
George Westinghouse College Prep
Hancock College Preparatory High School
Juarez Community Academy High School
Kelvyn Park High School
Kenwood Academy High School
King College Prep High School
Lane Technical High School
Lincoln Park High School
Lindblom Math & Science Academy High School
Marshall Metropolitan High School
Walter Payton College Preparatory High School
Prosser Career Academy High School
Schurz High School
Taft High School
TEAM Englewood Community Academy
Urban Prep Academy
Williams Medical Prep High School
Young Women’s Leadership High School

Established in 1999, the GMS Program is funded by a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation designed to remove barriers to education for high-performing, low-income students. Each year, it enables 5,000 students to attend and graduate from 800 of the most selective private and public schools in the country, including Ivy League colleges, flagship state universities, UNCF member institutions and other minority-serving institutions. The goal of GMS is to promote academic excellence by providing thousands of outstanding students, who have significant financial need, the opportunity to reach their full potential.

The District upholds its rank as home to the most Gates winners this year, a status that has been claimed six times over the past seven years. The constant growth in scholarships awarded is attributed to the District’s progress in graduating more students every year. Last year, CPS had a graduation rate of 69.4 percent, the highest graduation rate in CPS history, and is on pace to graduate 82 percent of freshman in four years.

Chicago Public Schools serves 396,000 students in 664 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.

Page Last Modified on Tuesday, May 05, 2015