CPS college enrollment reaches new heights


Jocelyn Moreno

CPS college enrollment reaches new heights

By Kaci Watt

More Chicago Public Schools’ graduates are enrolling in college now than ever before.

According to a Sept. 24 press release from the Office of the Mayor, 64.6 percent of graduates from the class of 2017 enrolled in a two or four-year institution, compared to 53.7 percent in 2010. The increase was credited to various programs designed to aid college-bound CPS students.

“The increase is just exposure. The more we’re talking about it— the more it is visible—the more students are getting a chance to talk and see that it is something that is obtainable,” said Charles Anderson, principal at Michele Clark Magnet High School.

Some of the programs include GearUp, OneGoal and the Star Scholarship.

OneGoal and GearUp share a common goal to help  CPS students  pursue post-graduation opportunities. GearUp helps more than 14,000 students in 36 CPS high schools with workshops, guidance and support, according to the release. OneGoal offers guidance to students from junior year through their freshman year of college.

The Star Scholarship helps CPS graduates who plan to attend the City Colleges of Chicago. According to the organization’s website, City Colleges will waive the remaining cost of tuition and books not covered by federal aid.

Not only has the number of students attending college increased, but the number of students staying in college after freshman year has increased. The release noted 72.3 percent of CPS graduates who enrolled in college in 2015 remained enrolled in 2016.

While CPS offers various avenues for aid during the application process, CPS graduate and junior animation major Cassidy Romero said CPS could have focused more on what students should do after the initial application process. 

“[They could have] shed more insight on what to expect from college,” he said. The financial aid stuff was confusing when I went through it. They could’ve put more emphasis on that. “

Columbia will also offer new scholarships for the 2019-2020  academic year, according to Senior Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment Derek Brinkley.

“Across the board, we know that scholarships tend to be a little challenging for many of our students,” Brinkley said.

One of the Columbia scholarships for CPS students is based on GPA. Scholarships will range up to about $13,500 for the year, according to Brinkley.

A second scholarship for CPS students is targeted to specific schools known to have a higher number of students interested in creative industries, he said. This scholarship will range up to $15,000.

Columbia is trying to increase outreach to CPS students, Brinkley added.

“There is something to be said about going to high schools and talking to high schoolers about what we have to offer at Columbia,” Brinkley said. “There is also something to be said about going to high schools and  talking about the college process in general and being able to serve the community, even if it isn’t always directly related to Columbia.”