FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, May 11, 2016
For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
CHICAGO— Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today congratulated the 35 students who were awarded scholarships by the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program. This prestigious program offers competitive, needs-based scholarships 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. For the seventh time in the past eight years, CPS again has the most Gates Millennium Scholarship recipients of any school district in the nation during a single year.
“The fact that Chicago once again leads the nation in Gates Scholars is a true testament to the hard work of our students, the dedication of their parents, and the devotion of teachers and educators all throughout CPS,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This progress is all the more proof that the students of CPS have limitless potential and by making the right investments to put their futures first, we can help more of them reach the graduation stage and be college-bound. I congratulate each of our 2016 Gates Scholars. The City of Big Shoulders proudly stands on their shoulders today."
Last year, the Class of 2015 was also awarded 35 Gates Scholars and CPS students received a total of more than $950 million in scholarship offers. The significant scholarship dollars received by CPS students reflected the hard work of students, parents, school counselors, post-secondary coaches, teachers and administrators who work tirelessly to support students in their pursuit of higher education.
“The Gates Millennium Scholars program rewards America's best and brightest with the opportunity to pursue their dreams without the burden of student loan debt,” said Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “I am excited to congratulate the 35 CPS students whose hard work and commitment to their community earned them Gates scholarships this year. Eighty-six percent of CPS students come from low-income families, making scholarship programs like this essential to the future of our children.”
Throughout the school year, the CPS Office of School Counseling and Postsecondary Advising hosted writing workshops across the District to support students applying for Gates Scholarships. At workshop sessions, previous Gates Scholarship recipients provided insight on the scholarship. Prospective applicants were also provided essay writing review assistance.
Each year roughly 50,000 African-American, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific Islander and Native-American students apply for the Gates Scholarships. Recipients must have at least a 3.3 grade-point average, and are selected because of their community service, leadership, and ability to complete a challenging application that includes answering eight essay questions. Students are 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:
- Benito Juarez Community Academy (2 students)
- Chicago High School For Agricultural Sciences (1)
- Chicago Vocational Career Academy (1)
- Curie Metro High School (1)
- Epic Academy (1)
- Hubbard High School (1)
- Jones College Preparatory High School (1)
- Kenwood Academy High School (4)
- King College Prep High School (1)
- Lincoln Park High School (1)
- Lindblom Math and Science Academy High School (5)
- Northside College Preparatory High School (2)
- Prosser Career Academy High School (1)
- Richards Career Academy High School (1)
- Taft High School (1)
- UIC College Prep (1)
- Urban Prep Academy - West (1)
- Urban Prep Academy - Bronzeville (2)
- Urban Prep Academy - Englewood (4)
- Voise Academy (1)
- Von Steuben High School (1)
- Whitney M. Young Magnet High School (1)
Established in 1999, the GMS Program is funded by a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and is designed to remove barriers to education for high-performing, low-income students. 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 GMS program is known for its recipients’ high graduation rates across the nation’s top institutions. Scholars have a six-year graduation rate of over 90 percent, more than 50 percent higher than the national graduation rate for minority students. Over 20,000 Gates Scholars have been funded since 2000.
The consistently high number of CPS students awarded Gates Millennium Scholarships reflects the academic progress the District is making including gains in student scholarship dollars, record-high AP exam scores, an increased average composite ACT score and a record 5-year cohort graduation rate.
Chicago Public Schools serves 392,000 students in 664 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.