Columbia partners with Chicago Stars to further student success


G-Jun Yam

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Nov. 5 at Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Van Buren St., that five additional colleges, including Columbia, will join the Chicago Stars partnership, a commitment to providing scholarships to Chicago Star scholars.

By Lauren Kostiuk

Five additional colleges, including Columbia, joined the Chicago Star Partnership, as announced Nov. 5 by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman. 

The partnership is a commitment of the now 12 four-year colleges and universities dedicated to providing scholarships to Chicago Star scholars following their graduation from City Colleges of Chicago. The scholarships will allow them to go on to earn four-year degrees.

“I wanted to make sure all the institutions of higher learning that call Chicago home, that have their address and their zip code and their identity with Chicago, participated in making sure the future for other students is open, alive and vibrant,” Emanuel said.

The University of Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University, North Park University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago were inducted into the partnership, joining previously announced participants DePaul University, Governors State University, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Loyola University, National Louis University, Roosevelt University and the University of Illinois at Chicago.

President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim said joining the partnership was an easy “yes.” With more than 300 City Colleges graduates studying at Columbia, Kim said the program exemplifies Columbia’s commitment to providing students with access to educational opportunity.

“We know that the greater the diversity of experience, which characterizes our community, the greater the likelihood our students will be challenged to create new forms and ideas and dream new dreams—the foundation for their future career success,” Kim said.

To qualify, Chicago Public Schools students must graduate with a GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale, demonstrate “completion [of college] readiness” with an ACT math and English score of at least 17 and enroll in one of City Colleges of Chicago’s structured pathways.

Nearly 1,000 CPS graduates have earned the Chicago Star Scholarship, Hyman said.

“Creating this clear path from a high school diploma to a bachelor’s degree will assure that Chicagoans have the education to launch careers in fast-growing fields and assure that our city has the trained workforce it needs to continue to thrive,” Hyman said.

Keri Walters, assistant provost of Academic Services, said the Star scholarship was already on Columbia’s radar because the college has partnered with City Colleges of Chicago on many different initiatives in the past. 

“[The program] was sort of a natural progression of events,” Walters said. “It allows us to recognize the accomplishments of some of our best students coming from City Colleges in a way that also gives them more affordability to come to Columbia.”

The program will help the already increasing number of transfer students to Columbia, Walters said. In the Fall 2015 Semester, the college had 32 transfer students from City Colleges out of the 815 total transfer students, according to data obtained from the Office of

Institutional Effectiveness. 

“Each and every Star scholar that chooses Columbia College Chicago will bring one more unique voice to the rich diverse mix that characterizes our institution,” Kim said. “We look forward to welcoming the first class of Star scholars and we stand ready to help them achieve the successes to which they aspire.”