UChicago launches new scholarship program for Chicago teachers

CPS teacher
The University of Chicago will offer a full-tuition scholarship to the children of educators in the Chicago Public Schools.
Courtesy of
Chicago Public Schools
University Communications

In recognition of the important work of educators and in honor of their service to the city of Chicago, the University of Chicago is launching the Chicago Public Schools Educators Award Scholarship, a full-tuition scholarship to attend UChicago for the children of educators in the Chicago Public Schools.

The CPS Educators Award Scholarship is an expansion of UChicago Promise, a multi-pronged initiative designed to help students and families throughout the city of Chicago gain admission to, pay for and thrive in college. UChicago Promise currently provides full-tuition scholarships for the children of Chicago firefighters, Chicago police officers and UChicago police officers. The program also offers full-tuition scholarships each year to select students attending Chicago Public Schools. UChicago Promise is part of the University’s far-reaching commitment to help Chicago students prepare for and attend the nation’s top colleges and universities.

“This new initiative will help the families of Chicago educators in our own backyard, building on our efforts to enhance preparation and expand opportunities for all Chicago high school students,” said John W. Boyer, dean of the College. “Teachers, police officers and firefighters help make this city work for everyone, and this is an important way to honor their service.” 

The new scholarship builds upon the success of UChicago Promise, which in addition to providing scholarships for Chicago students, offers free programming for students, educators and counselors in Chicago across a variety of platforms to tackle the barriers to higher education faced by students and families. Started in 2012, UChicago Promise offers Chicago high schools free enrichment programs and free workshops to help students navigate the college admissions and financial aid processes. As a whole, these programs are designed to help Chicago high school students attain access to an excellent college education anywhere.

“Teachers, police officers and firefighters help make this city work for everyone, and this is an important way to honor their service.” Dean John W. Boyer

“I applaud the University of Chicago for recognizing Chicago’s dedicated teachers, firefighters and police officers by helping their children achieve their dreams of a higher education,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Chicago’s students continue to break high school graduation and college enrollment records, and UChicago Promise scholarships put a world-class education in reach for more Chicago students and families.”

“This new scholarship recognizes the vital role that Chicago Public Schools educators play in the lives of our city’s students, while building on the University’s longtime partnerships with local schools,” said Derek Douglas, vice president for civic engagement. “UChicago Promise programs help prepare hundreds of Chicago students for college each year, giving them essential tools for both academic and career success.”  

UChicago Promise includes:

  • Admissions Academy: Workshops led by UChicago staff members to provide professional development for educators as well as guidance to students and families navigating college admissions and financial aid.
  • The Jeff Metcalf Internship Program: A program that provides 2,000 paid and substantive internships to undergraduates each year, including UChicago Promise Metcalf internships. Promise Metcalf interns are current UChicago students who are trained to aid teachers and school counselors in the Chicago Public Schools in preparing students for the college admissions and application processes. The interns help educators in additional areas where needed throughout the school year.  
  • Upward Bound: A federally funded program, managed by the University’s Office of Special Programs, that offers after-school tutoring, Saturday and summer programming, and college tours to prepare Chicago high school students for college.
  • The Neighborhood Schools Program: A program that connects hundreds of UChicago students with South Side pre-K to 12th schools each year as tutors, teaching assistants and general support staff. 
  • Collegiate Scholars: A program to prepare talented Chicago Public Schools students in grades 10-12 for admission and success at the nation’s top colleges and universities.

In addition to the front-line teachers in the classroom, the new scholarship will include and recognize the vital role of key related service providers such as school counselors, speech pathologists and nurses, as well as support personnel who support and care for students each day such as teaching assistants, lunchroom workers, school clerks and custodians.

“This scholarship recognizes the contribution and sacrifice of our faculty who educate, inspire and help mentor Chicago's youth,” said Janice K. Jackson, chief education officer of Chicago Public Schools. “UChicago Promise and the University of Chicago have been essential partners in helping cultivate the next generation of Chicago’s leaders, and we’re thrilled our students and their families have this critical opportunity.” 

The University of Chicago is deeply committed to serving under-resourced and under-served students in the city of Chicago and across the country.  UChicago Promise focuses on eliminating barriers to higher education in the University’s home city. UChicago also has recently expanded its efforts to ensure access to higher education for all students across the country through the Odyssey Scholarship Program, which provides financial support and career development opportunities for low-income and first-generation students. As part of the expansion of Odyssey, UChicago has eliminated student loans from need-based financial aid packages for all students who are eligible to receive need-based aid and removed the application fees for students applying for financial aid. Odyssey Scholars also are offered a guaranteed funded internship the summer after their first year and lifelong career professional development opportunities.

UChicago is a founding member of the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success, a group of colleges and universities dedicated to improving college access for students of all backgrounds by offering a free platform of online tools to assist students in their college search and admissions process.

For more information on UChicago Promise and for college admissions resources, visit promise.uchicago.edu. Candidates for the Chicago Public Schools Educators Award must be accepted to the University of Chicago and be the child of a full-time Chicago Public Schools teacher or school-based staff member.