Each June, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless awards $2,500 renewable college scholarships to graduating high school seniors who succeeded in school despite coping personally with homelessness.
Students from Chicago and suburban schools are eligible, as well as CCH youth leaders. Online applications will be posted in January and due in mid-April.
To showcase the promise and tenacity of students who coped with homelessness, the CCH Law Project created the scholarship program in 2004. The program was the next step for a legal aid program that focuses its casework on helping homeless students and unaccompanied youth. Patricia Rivera, then director of the Chicago Public Schools’ Homeless Education Program, collaborated with CCH in creating the scholarship, and was the first of the private donors to fund the scholarships.
By June 2017, 14 scholarship recipients will have graduated with bachelor’s degrees, 39% of the 36 students eligible to do so. This compares well per a national study that showed in 2013 just 9% of students from the lowest income bracket ($34,160 or lower) had earned a bachelor’s by age 24 (University of Pennsylvania and Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, February 2015).
In the 2017-18 school year, 18 students attend colleges and universities in Illinois and Georgia, and historically black colleges in Mississippi, South Carolina and Washington, D.C.
CCH scholarships are funded by private donors and several groups: The Osa Foundation and Robin Lavin, Susan W. Pearson Memorial Fund, and the Student Alliance for Homeless Youth, led by teens from eight North Shore high schools. The program also benefited by grants from the Alvin H. Baum Family Fund, Sisters of Charity, BVM, and a $10,000 challenge grant from Elaine’s Hope, funded by educator Rhonda Purwin.
For more information, contact Intake Specialist Roberto Martinez or Foundation Relations and Media Director Anne Bowhay.