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City Colleges of Chicago Honor Star Scholars with a Cording Ceremony at Malcolm X College as Students Prepare to Earn Associate Degree

20 April 2023

Majority of Star Scholars are CPS Graduates and First-Generation College Students. Event marks first in-person Cording Ceremony since the onset of the pandemic

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CHICAGO—City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) Star Scholars earning their associate degree in the 2022-23 school year will take part in a Cording Ceremony Thursday evening at Malcolm X College to celebrate a unique Chicago partnership that is helping thousands of Chicago youth earn a post-secondary degree. The Star Scholarship covers tuition and books for up to three years at City Colleges, after the application of financial aid. Students qualify for the Star Scholarship if they graduate from a Chicago Public School or Big Shoulder Fund Catholic high school with at least a 3.0 GPA.

“Our Star Scholars worked hard to earn their associate degree. It wasn’t an easy road but they did the work and persevered. Students have shared that earning this degree is something they will cherish forever and we are grateful to have been here to support them,” said Chancellor Juan Salgado, City Colleges of Chicago. “Our Star Scholars’ success confirms that when you remove financial barriers and create a supportive environment, college dreams are realized.”

During the Cording Ceremony, Chancellor Salgado and other City Colleges leaders will present the royal blue cords that the Star Scholars will wear to the City Colleges Commencement ceremony in May. More than a hundred Star Scholars are expected to be in attendance at the ceremony, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m, along with their families, City Colleges of Chicago leaders, faculty and staff.

Since the Star Scholarship program was launched in 2015 more than 15,000 graduates - most of them from Chicago Public Schools - have been named Star Scholars. Nine hundred seventy-three Star Scholar students are expected to graduate this year. More than half of Star Scholars go on to transfer within two years to a four-university. The top transfer universities for Star Scholars are: Chicago State University, Oak Point University, University of Illinois Chicago, Northeastern Illinois University, and DePaul University.

The Star Scholarship is aligned with the work of the Chicago Roadmap, an unprecedented partnership between Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) to support students along a seamless path to and through college on the way to their chosen careers. Through the Roadmap, CPS and CCC are transforming their relationship from a successful collaboration to convergence, with alignment at every level of our organizations. By providing access to high-quality programs, advising and supports, career exploration and preparedness, the Roadmap strives to dramatically and equitably increase student outcomes in college enrollment, college degree attainment, and employment.

“This is one of the amazing education partnerships that makes Chicago unique,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “By working together we are making sure that our students have a clear and affordable pathway to a post-secondary degree. Thousands of our talented students and their families have chosen City Colleges of Chicago as their first step to an amazing future.”

Thursday night’s ceremony will feature Harold Washington College Class of 2023 graduate, Jocelyn Romero, and Kennedy-King College alum, Vashon Jordan who now works as director of digital media and photography in the Office of Governor Pritzker. Both Romero and Jordan will speak at the ceremony and are alums of Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy.

“The ceremony will honor our Star Scholars who have completed their associate degree and it will also serve as a time for all of us to share their joy,” said Star Scholarship Director Rhonda Hampton, City Colleges of Chicago. “I’m so proud to be part of a program that supports many students who thought they could never afford to go to college. Earning this degree is only the beginning and I know they will go on to do good things in the world.”

To learn more about the Chicago Star Scholarship program, visit or click here.


About City Colleges of Chicago

City Colleges of Chicago’s vision is to be recognized as the city’s most accessible higher education engine of socioeconomic mobility and racial equity – empowering all Chicagoans to take part in building a stronger and more just city. Learn more about City Colleges at and connect with CPS on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

About Chicago Public Schools (CPS)

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is dedicated to providing a high-quality education to all students, beginning with the District’s free full-day preschool programming for four-year-old scholars and continuing through neighborhood, magnet and selective-enrollment elementary schools that provide a rigorous K-8 education with schools that specialize in the fine arts, world language and culture, dual language, STEM, International Baccalaureate (IB), classical programs, and more. The rising District-wide freshmen-on-track and high school graduation rates reflect the hard work of the CPS community, including families, staff, and students across 635 schools. CPS celebrates the diversity of its more than 322,000 students who cite 182 home languages. Learn more about CPS at and connect with CPS on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.