$2,500 college scholarship applications due April 16

Applications are due in mid-April for $2,500 renewable college scholarships. By June, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) will select four graduating high school seniors who succeeded in school despite coping personally with homelessness.

Our 2017 winners: Prince Washington, Avery Williams, Mayra Fajardo, and Niani Scott

Students from Chicago and suburban schools are eligible to apply, as well as youth leaders active with CCH. Most scholarship winners receive $10,000 to complete their bachelor’s degree.

Online applications are available here.

All online and paper applications must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on Monday, April 16, 2018. This includes all supplemental materials, such as two references, that will be reviewed by our selection committee.

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 2018, 19 scholarship recipients will have graduated with bachelor’s degrees, 43% of the 44 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).

During 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 prior 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.

More information, including detailed eligibility guidelines, are available here.

– Anne Bowhay, Media