Earlier today, I had the pleasure of meeting with three CPS students who are well on their way to a bright future.

All seniors at Juarez High School, these students will be attending prestigious universities next fall with the help of college scholarships. Diana will be attending Pomona University in southern California, while Abigail will study Public Health and International Relations at Dennison University in the hope of becoming an M.D. And Luis, who has dreamed of attending MIT since he was a child, will see that dream come true when he sets off for the east coast to study Math or Mechanical Engineering.

These students all have differing dreams, but they have one thing in common. Their post-high school plans would not have been possible without the help of college scholarships.

Abigail, Diana and Luis are the latest examples of an exciting CPS trend. Graduates from our 2014-2015 School Year received over $950 million in scholarship offers – more than double what CPS students were earning just two years ago.

The credit goes first to our students, whose improvement in everything from act scores to graduation rate proves how committed our young people are to their academic futures. I also applaud our families – the hard-working parents who find the time to stand over their student’s shoulder to make sure the work gets done – and our teachers, who spend every day preparing our children to be successful in college and beyond.

But our dramatic increase in scholarships is also tied to a key CPS investment. Through targeted professional development, our counselors and post-secondary coaches have improved their ability to support students in exploring higher education. By exposing them to a variety of scholarship opportunities, these experts are helping lift the financial burden from our students and are making pursuing a college education the norm for thousands of youth across the city.

CPS will continue with this training, and will also work to enhance the online tools that have contributed to our recent success. These efforts have streamlined the scholarship process for students and have helped direct them to those scholarship opportunities that best match their needs and talents.

We hope students and parents will continue to take advantage of these resources, and that we’ll see our total scholarships total even more for this year’s graduating class.

—–

Students and parents: to get started, visit chooseyourfuture.org, CPS’s quick reference guide to the FAFSA, as well as other scholarship opportunities available next fall.  

Read more on CPS’ scholarship announcement here