Three students from North Lawndale College Preparatory High School in Chicago have received scholarships to attend Elmhurst College in the fall, thanks to a partnership between the two institutions called the Phoenix Pact.
The Phoenix Pact helps graduates of North Lawndale College Prep (NLCP) charter school attend top four-year colleges without having to pay anything out-of-pocket for tuition, fees, room and board. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently joined NLCP President John Horan on Chicago’s West Side to announce the new program and celebrate it with student recipients of the scholarships, their families and representatives from the partnering colleges.
The NLCP graduates who will be attending Elmhurst College under the Phoenix Pact are Tareyanna Burns, Chakiera McGee and Quinton Green.
“Elmhurst College is very excited to partner with North Lawndale College Prep to enroll and graduate well-prepared students,” said Elmhurst College Executive Director of Admission Stephanie Levenson, who attended the celebration with Lee Daniels, the College’s special assistant to the president for government and community relations.
Levenson added that the students will receive support and mentoring from Elmhurst College and NLCP staff throughout their academic careers. “The commitment NLCP gives to their graduates to ensure their success in college matches our commitment to preparing our students for successful careers and lives.”
More than $18 million has been raised to fund the Phoenix Pact, named for NLCP’s mascot. The program is designed to ensure that NLCP’s graduates can attend the colleges where they are most likely to be successful, without cost standing in the way.
The program is a three-way pact: Students commit to graduate from NLCP with a B average or better and to attend a college with a track record of successfully graduating minority students; colleges commit to keeping total loan costs manageable and to ensuring that 50 percent or more of their minority students earn a degree; and the Phoenix Pact Fund commits to cover any financial gap remaining between the cost of attendance and available financial aid.
Besides Elmhurst, 14 colleges have signed on to be partners in the program, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Carleton College in Minnesota. The Phoenix Pact Fund’s goal is to provide scholarships to all qualifying students for many years to come. It is expected that eventually, as many as 100 graduates of NLCP will receive scholarships annually—to the benefit of hundreds of families on Chicago’s West Side.
Since NLCP’s founding 17 years ago, the school’s mission has been to prepare young people from under-resourced communities so that they have the academic skills and personal resilience necessary for the successful completion of college. To date, NLCP’s graduates have earned degrees at four to five times the national average for low-income students. The Phoenix Pact will help NLCP push that number even higher.