May 5, 2014
CHICAGO—Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett today announced that 44 students were awarded scholarships by the Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) Program, which is a competitive, needs-based scholarship providing 1,000 students across the country every year with a grant that can be used to pursue a degree in any undergraduate major at an accredited college or university. This year’s class set a District record and for the fifth time in past six years CPS has more recipients than any other school district in the nation. Ten years ago, the District had four Gates scholarship recipients.
“Congratulations to this year’s Millennium Scholars for their academic excellence and for the countless doors this opportunity will open, ” Mayor Emanuel said. “This is a shared victory - teachers, parents, and counselors should also be commended for supporting and pushing these students to receive this highly competitive scholarship that will allow them to go to college to learn skills, explore new interests, and pursue their dreams.”
Last school year, the Class of 2013 was awarded 35 Gates scholarships and received more than $400 million in total scholarship dollars, more than in any previous year. Students received academic, athletic, organizational, talent, and need-based scholarships that enabled them to enroll in colleges and universities from the Midwest to the Ivy League. This year, the District is on pace to increase scholarship dollars, and graduate more students than ever before.
“This year's scholarship awards represent a tremendous achievement for our students and their support networks, including their families, teachers and counselors," said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “These scholarship dollars will remove the financial barrier facing many of our students today and put them on a path for college and career success."
Each year roughly 50,000 African-American, Hispanic, Asian-Pacific Islander and Native-American students apply for the 1,000 Gates Scholarships. Recipients have a 3.3 minimum grade-point average, and are also selected because of their community service, leadership, and ability to complete a challenging application that includes answering eight different essay questions. Students are also nominated by an educator and receive community recommendations about their contributions outside the classroom.
The full value of a Gates Scholarship could be worth more than $250,000, depending on where a student decides to enroll in college and whether they choose to pursue a Master’s or Doctoral degree. The scholarship pays the balance between what the family can afford and the total cost of tuition.
This year’s Gates Scholars represent a range of high schools, including neighborhood, selective enrollment, charter and military academies. This year, the 44 students awarded this coveted scholarship attend 26 CPS high schools, including:
- Brooks College Preparatory Academy High School
- Carver Military Academy High School
- Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences
- Corliss High School
- Dunbar Vocational Career Academy High School
- Harper High School
- Juarez Community Academy High School
- Julian High School
- Kenwood Academy High School
- King College Prep
- Lake View High School
- Lane Technical High School
- Lincoln Park High School
- Lindblom Math & Science Academy
- Morgan Park High School
- Noble Street High School
- Walter Payton College Preparatory High School
- Phoenix Military Academy High School
- Rickover Naval Academy
- Simeon Career Academy High School
- Sullivan High School
- UNO Charter High School
- Urban Prep Academy High School
- Von Steuben Metropolitan High School
- Whitney M. Young Magnet High School
- World Language Academy High School
Established in 1999 with the goal of developing Leaders for America’s FutureTM, the Gates Millennium Scholars Program is funded by a $1.6 billion grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The GMS Program is removing barriers to education for high-performing, low-income students. Each year it enables 5,000 students to attend and graduate from 800 of the most selective private and public schools in the country, including Ivy League colleges, flagship state universities, UNCF member institutions and other minority-serving institutions. The goal of GMS is to promote academic excellence by providing thousands of outstanding students, who have significant financial need, the opportunity to reach their full potential.
"Today more than ever it is important that our young people get the education they need, and that we need them to have in order to remain competitive in the 21st century. For the 20,000 young men and women who will attend college as Gates Millennium Scholars, the financial support, leadership training, mentoring and academic and social support they receive will enable them to become college graduates and our next generation of leaders," said Michael L. Lomax, Ph.D., president and CEO, UNCF. "We are grateful for students receiving the support of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program because it is not only an investment in the futures of these extraordinary young people, but also in the country’s economic strength and competitiveness."
The record number of students winning a Millennium Scholarship this year reflect the progress the District is making with last year’s graduation rate at 65 percent, the highest graduation rate increase in CPS history, and with 82 percent of freshman are on track to graduate in four years.
Chicago Public Schools serves 400,000 students in 658 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.