The average cost to attend a 4-year university in Illinois is right around $10,000 per year—ranking Illinois in the top half of the country for tuition and expenses. Some students may never give the cost of college a second thought. For others, these expenses could mean they can’t attend the school of their choice without financial assistance.
Scholarships provide financial support in the form of tuition, funds for books and supplies, or money directly to students to spend as they choose toward their future. Estimates show there are over 1.7 million scholarships worth over $7.4 billion available every year for students. But knowing where to find them, checking eligibility, completing the applications, writing the essays, and filing before deadlines can be extremely overwhelming.
This is where schools, community leaders, and organizations can step in to ensure all students have the information and resources to apply for scholarships. At Catalyst—a charter school located in Chicago—the school prioritizes scholarships and dedicates class time for seniors to apply to opportunities. School counselors have also created a database with scholarship opportunities applicable to their students with links, notes, deadlines, and tips to follow for submission.
“No scholarship amount is too small. I am always on the hunt to find scholarships our students can apply to,” said Denise Delgado, Assistant Director of Post-Secondary Success. “Whether if it’s for the student with a 4.0 or a 2.0, all our students know the importance of what it means to apply to scholarships.”
Catalyst also offers its own scholarships for students. The Sisters of St. Casimir Legacy scholarship—made possible by a Catalyst board member— awards $2,500 to two students every year. The Leadership in Diversity scholarship grants a $1,000 scholarship to a student’s post-secondary institution. Students are selected based on essays discussing their plans to be leaders of change and promote diversity on their campuses and community.
The school has also partnered with Adrian College and Project Intersect to provide full-tuition scholarships for students. The 141 scholars in the Class of 2022 are off a record-breaking start, with 738 college applications already submitted, 43 acceptances, and $1.7 mil in scholarships awarded so far this year.
Many of the charter schools through Chicago offer scholarship assistance and opportunities for students. If you have a student at home seeking scholarship opportunities, we recommend they speak with their school counselor!