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Catalyst Grant Scholarship
Deadline to apply: August 17, 2020 3:00 pm CT

The Catalyst Grant Scholarship has been established to assist students in selected Chicago Public School high schools who plan to continue their education in college or vocational school programs.

This program is administered by Scholarship America®, the nation’s largest designer and manager of scholarship, tuition assistance and other education support programs for corporations, foundations, associations, and individuals. Awards are granted without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation,  gender, disability, or national origin.

Please click and and read through each tab below regarding Eligibility, Awards, Required Documents and FAQ’s for the program before applying for the scholarship.

Eligibility
Applicants to the Catalyst Grant Scholarship Program must be:

  • Be a 2020 graduate from one of the following Chicago Public Schools high schools:
    • Chicago Vocational Career Academy
    • Percy Julian High School
    • Thomas Kelly College Preparatory
    • North-Grand High School
    • George Washington High School
  • Demonstrate financial need, confirmed by high school personnel
  • Plan to enroll in full-time undergraduate study at an eligible accredited two- or four-year college or university or vocational school for the entire upcoming academic year
  • Have a minimum grade point average of 2.5 on a 4.0 scale (or its equivalent)

Award

Awards will be granted as follows:

  • 2-year/Vocational Schools – $1,500
  • 4-year Public (In State) – $3,500
  • 4-year Public (Out of State) or Private – $7,000

Awards are not renewable; however, recipients may reapply next year if they meet the eligibility requirements.

Awards are for undergraduate study only.

Participation in Scholarship America’s financial literacy tool, WhichWay is offered to scholarship recipients. Recipients will be invited to download the WhichWay app and register to participate in activities that encourage financial literacy to help guide a student to financial stability and success.

Selection of Recipients

The donor for this scholarship is eager to help students graduating from eligible Chicago Public Schools. Your submitted information will be evaluated by Scholarship America. Scholarship America will consider your overall application including your academic and personal background along with your future plans and special circumstances to determine awards. Additionally, they will award funds up to the budget provided by the donor. We encourage all eligible students to apply.

Notification
Applicants will be notified in late August/Early Spetember. Not all applicants to the program will be selected as recipients.

Payment of Scholarships
Scholarship America processes scholarship payments on behalf of the scholarship sponsor. Payments are made in mid-September.

As part of your application, you must upload the following documents:

  • Current, complete transcript of grades. Grade reports are not accepted. Unofficial or online transcripts must display student name, school name, grades and credit hours for each course, and term in which each course was taken.

Your application is not considered complete unless all required documents are submitted electronically.

Frequently Asked Questions

1). Am I eligible to apply for the Catalyst Scholarship?

Students graduating in 2020 from the following Chicago Public Schools are eligible to apply for the scholarship:

  • Chicago Vocational Career Academy
  • Percy Julian High School
  • Thomas Kelly College Preparatory
  • North-Grand High School
  • George Washington High School

Personnel from these high schools have provided student rosters to Scholarship America to verify graduation and financial need. You must have graduated from high school with at least a 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale and be enrolling this fall in a full-time undergraduate study at an eligible accredited two- or four-year college or university or vocational school for the entire upcoming academic year. This scholarship is intended for first-year college students.

2). I am an undocumented student. May I apply for this scholarship?

Yes, there are no citizenship requirements that are part of eligibility or the application process.

3). What is the deadline to submit my scholarship application?

You must submit your application through the Scholarship America portal by 3:00 p.m. Central Time on Monday August 17, 2020.

4). How much scholarship money am I eligible for?

Students awarded scholarships will receive funding for the current academic year based on the type of higher education institution they are enrolling in this fall. The scholarship amounts are based on the approximate unmet need students from eligible high schools are likely to face based on the type of institution they are attending.

  • Two-Year Community College or a Vocational School – $1,500.00
  • Four-Year Public College or University in Illinois – $3,500.00
  • Four-Year Public College or University Outside of Illinois or Four-Year Private College or University – $7,000.00

The scholarship is competitive, and the donor has budgeted approximately $1.5 million in available awards.

5). What college expenses can the scholarship be applied to?

This scholarship is designed to support the Cost of Attendance at your higher education institution. For most colleges and universities, this includes tuition, fees, and room and board. Your award will be disbursed to your college or university and applied to your account.

6). Is this scholarship renewable next year?

This scholarship is for the 2020 – 2021 academic year. You will be contacted in January 2021 to apply for a Catalyst Grant Scholarship for the 2021 – 2022 academic year. While the application and selection criteria will be different next year, we encourage students to reapply. Students may continue to apply for funding under this program for up to five years of undergraduate education.

7). How will the scholarship application be evaluated?

The donor for this scholarship is eager to help students graduating from eligible Chicago Public Schools. Submitted information will be evaluated by Scholarship America. Scholarship America will consider all   application materials including academic and personal background, future plans and special circumstances to grant awards. Additionally, the sponsor has budgeted a total of $1.5 million to grant for awards.  We encourage all eligible students to apply.

8). Are there parts of the application I must fill out? Are there any sections that are optional?

When you begin the application, any question with a “*” is required. Any field without a “*” may be skipped, though we encourage you to complete as much of the application as possible.

9). I graduated from high school in June 2020 and have not officially started college. What should I enter for the question about my current grade level?

 Please enter High School Senior/Final Year Secondary Student

10). What documents do I need to provide as part of my application?

You will need to upload a copy of your final high school transcript. Please contact your high school postsecondary counselor if you need help getting a copy of your transcript.

11). What if I don’t know how to answer specific, required questions?

Do your best to answer questions and provide an answer for any required question. For example, the application will ask about your intended college major. Feel free to indicate ‘Undecided’; choosing ‘Undecided’ will not affect your scholarship chances.

You may also contact Scholarship America at catalyst@scholarshipamerica.org if you have any questions. If you email Scholarship America, you should expect to hear back within a few hours.

12). Once I start college, what if I need additional financial help?

The Catalyst Grant Scholarship program also has an affiliated Emergency Aid program. Should you find yourself in a situation where you need immediate financial assistance for housing, food, car repairs (to travel to and from campus), other transportation, health care, or certain utilities, you may be eligible for additional support. The emergency aid program will be available beginning on September 1, 2020 at https://learnmore.scholarsapply.org/catalystea/.

Selecting the button below will redirect you to the Scholarship America Student Hub to enter your profile information and complete the application!