Each June, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless awards renewable college scholarships to graduating high school seniors who succeeded in school while experiencing homelessness.
Students from Chicago and suburban schools are eligible to apply as well as CCH youth leaders and former youth clients.
Thanks to support from long-time donors and a substantial new gift in memory of Jill Meinzer, we were able to increase student awards to $3,500 a year in 2020.
The 2022 – 23 scholarship application is now closed. Winners will be announced in June. Applications for the 2023 – 24 school year will open in January of 2023.
To showcase the promise and tenacity of students who experience homelessness, the CCH Law Project created a scholarship program in 2004. It 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 private donor to support the scholarships.
To date, 28 scholarship recipients graduated with bachelor’s degrees, 47% of those eligible to do so. This compares to a national study that shows 21% of first generation students in the lowest income bracket earned a bachelor’s from a four-year school within six years (University of Pennsylvania and Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, 2021).
Three other scholarship students (6%) have earned associate or nursing degrees.
CCH scholarships are funded by individual donors and institutional partners including Associated Bank, Sisters of Charity, BVM; Jill L. Meinzer Scholarship Fund; The Osa Foundation and Robin Lavin; and the Susan W. Pearson Memorial Fund. The program also benefited by early grants from the Alvin H. Baum Family Fund and a $10,000 challenge grant from Elaine’s Hope, funded by the late educator Rhonda Purwin. Those interested in supporting the program can donate at chicagohomeless.org/scholars.
For more information, contact Intake & Support Manager Christy Savellano.