NIU today | Hope Chicago and NIU will provide debt-free higher education for future Huskies

Northern Illinois University announces official partnership with Hope Chicago, the innovative two-generation college scholarship program committed to investing $1 billion over the next decade in post-secondary scholarships for Chicago students Public School (CPS) and their parents.

The partnership will support inaugural participants of the Hope Scholar cohort from five CPS partner high schools: Benito Juárez Community Academy (Pilsen); Farragut Career Academy (Small Village); Noble – Johnson College Prep (Englewood); Al Raby School for Community and Environment (Garfield Park); and Morgan Park High School (Morgan Park).

NIU joins more than 20 other Illinois institutions of higher education in partnership with Hope Chicago, a nonprofit organization that seeks to reduce economic and social inequality. Hope Scholars coming to NIU this fall will be eligible for the full range of comprehensive supports offered by the nonprofit organization.

Hope Scholars will receive a “gap-filling scholarship,” which means that Hope Chicago will pay for any costs not already covered by other grants or scholarships. This includes tuition, room and board, books, fees and supplements. Hope Scholars will also receive a laptop, stipend, and access to emergency funds for unforeseen expenses that may be barriers to their success, as well as transition support, academic and social/emotional supports and exclusive access to dedicated support staff.

“We know that the transition of any scholar to a new post-secondary setting is a critical moment in time,” said Michele Howard, Hope Chicago program manager. “That’s why we’re thrilled to have such deep relationships in place with our partner universities that guarantee deep support for our first cohort of Hope Scholars enrolling this fall.”

In February, Hope Chicago visited its first five CPS partner high schools on the south, southwest, and west sides of the city, promising 4,000 students and one parent/guardian of each student access to debt-free higher education. With future cohorts in the works, the partnership with Hope Chicago opens the door for more CPS graduates and their families to experience the world-class education NIU has to offer.

“NIU has made a significant investment in the talents of CPS graduates, with financial aid and scholarship offers that have more than doubled CPS freshman enrollment in the past five years,” said Sol Jensen, NIU vice president for enrollment. Management, Marketing and Communication.

“This partnership between NIU and Hope Chicago is transformative,” he added. “It will build on our past efforts, help provide a top-notch NIU education to more CPS students, and help them focus on their studies and success by removing financial burdens for their entire college career. .”

Other higher education institutions partnering with Hope Chicago include University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois Chicago, Loyola University Chicago, Chicago State University, Eastern Illinois University, Western Illinois University, Illinois State University, and Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

“We know that a college degree is the most powerful tool anyone can use to maximize their career opportunities,” added Hope Chicago Executive Director Dr. Janice Jackson. “That’s why we aim to be a game-changer and redefine the college experience for our scholars in collaboration with our partner institutions.”

For more information about Hope Chicago, visit

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