Chicago Public Schools officials are touting a record $950 million in college scholarships won by the entire graduating class of 2015.
As the district focuses on helping more children graduate and get to college, it celebrated nearly $1 billion in free money for post-secondary education earned by last year’s 22,856 graduates. The district could not provide a breakdown by school or by program; a spokesman said schools self-reported the data.
It wasn’t immediately clear how much of that money came from the city’s so-called Star Scholarships given to all CPS graduates with a B average or better plus ACT scores of 21 who attend the City Colleges.
Chief education officer Janice Jackson credited school counselors and college coaches with students’ ability “to maximize their opportunities and succeed beyond our doors.”
“School-level staff have played a significant role in helping students attain more scholarships, and we will continue to seek innovative ways to support their efforts,” she continued.
And CPS last year launched a web tool for high school seniors to streamline the search and application process for college scholarships, which lets more kids know about opportunities they might qualify for, according to the district.
By comparison, the 22,817 seniors who finished in June 2014 pulled down about $798 million in scholarships.
In the same press release, CPS claimed to have “more than doubled its scholarship offers” in “just two years,” but the $399,890,411 it claimed for students graduating in 2013 did not count any money won by the city’s dozens of charter high schools, which for the most part are skilled in applying for and winning college money for their students.
The Chicago Teachers Union noted that CPS funds just one counselor position per school — so the district’s average per high school is about 300 students per counselor. That’s higher than the American Counselors Association’s recommendation of a 250 to 1 ratio, and 59 CPS high schools exceed that recommendation, according to the CTU.
Even high performing schools such as King College Prep and Back of the Yards function with one counselor, the union said.