On November 8, college and career ready CPS students from high schools across the city took their first giant steps towards higher education by attending the 10th Annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) fair and scholarship awards reception at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers – Water Street.
The annual event for juniors and seniors is designed to help CPS students gain entrance to Historically Black Colleges and Universities – and gain access to college funding. To date, students have received more than $38 million in scholarship funding from the fairs.
“The annual fair is a great opportunity our juniors and seniors to explore post-secondary academic options at some of the country’s most renowned Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “We thank Siemens for their outstanding long-term partnership. It’s always exciting to provide scholarships to some of the District are most talented and deserving students.”
Representatives from more than 30 HBCUs from across the country were on hand to speak with high school students about their respective institutions of higher learning. Additionally, several qualified students were selected to receive partial, full and annual scholarships at to attend these universities and colleges during an evening reception at the conclusion of the fair.
Previous attendees of the Fair have gone on to bright academic futures and careers. Kirk Durand, a 2006 graduate of Robeson High School, received a full academic scholarship to study chemistry at the University of Arkansas Pine-Bluff.
“Starting from my sophomore year in high school, I participated in the annual college tours sponsored by Siemens,” Durand said. “During those trips we got the opportunity to visit several HBCUs and learn key aspects about college, such as requirements for admission, scholarships and grants, as well as college life. Upon graduation, because I had participated in the college tours and college fair, I was confident that the university I chose to attend was the best fit for me.
“Upon graduation, I received a doctoral fellowship from Purdue University and enrolled in their Ph.D. program majoring in Analytical Chemistry (focus in mass spectrometry). This is where I am presently and I am expected to graduate with my doctorate degree in the fall of 2014I cannot stress enough the significant role the Siemens college tours and HBCU college fair played in the achievements I have attained thus far in my life,” Durand said.
Englewood resident Jason Carter attended his first college fair with news in hand that he’d been accepted to the college of his choice – Morehouse University in Atlanta, GA. When Carter found out that he would not be eligible for academic scholarships at Morehouse, however, he thought that his college dreams had escaped his grasp.
While at the fair, “my advisor discovered me and inquired what was wrong. She immediately took me by the hand and introduced me to the admissions director for Florida Memorial University. She reviewed my grades and test scores. She informed me that I would not only be accepted to her college but I would also receive a full tuition scholarship. I was thrilled and excited. I couldn’t help but think if it was not for my advisor and the Siemens HBCU Fair, would I even have tried to pursue college after my Morehouse College experience.
Carter’s experience is not unique. A growing number of college-ready students do not attend college after graduation because they cannot afford it. The fair has helped create a bridge between deserving students and HBCUs.
The fair is focused heavily on college-ready students. To earn attendance to the event, students must must meet the following academic requirements:
- CPS seniors must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and ACT score of 20 or higher; or
- CPS seniors must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, an ACT score of 18 or higher and be ranked #1 in their graduating class; or
- CPS seniors must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, an ACT score of 18 or higher and serve as the class president or LSC representative for their school; or
- CPS juniors must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and PLAN score of 20 or higher
The strategic partnership between Siemens and the HBCU focuses solely on CPS students. Siemens provides financial support to the institutions which must ultimately result in scholarship dollars for CPS students attending their schools.