CHICAGO– Louis Swiger, 38, says he was doing okay for himself earning a living as a music engineer, despite not having a college degree. But three years ago, the music-lover’s career came to a standstill as the economy struggled and he found fewer opportunities for career advancement. As he set out to explore other job opportunities, he found one common theme.
“Employers wouldn’t give me a second thought because I didn’t have a college degree,” he said.Louis knew that if he ever wanted a new profession with better income potential, he needed to get a college degree. And the sooner, the better.
So Louis enrolled at Harold Washington College (HWC), one of the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), in 2009 to earn an associate degree with plans to later transfer to a four-year college to earn a BA in computer science. He says it was one of the best decisions he ever made.
Last spring, Louis was awarded an Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) Presidential Scholarship. He says winning the scholarship was physical proof of the dedication and the hard work he put into his studies at HWC. “I was elated,” he said.
“It was honestly one of the biggest moments in my life. Winning this scholarship meant that I was able to accomplish my academic goals and be rewarded for it. Being an IIT Presidential Scholar means the world to me.”
The Presidential Scholarship program aims to engage students interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, psychology, business and architecture. Winners receive a $23,500 annual tuition scholarship award, renewable for up to three years at IIT, and a $5,000 annual housing scholarship award to support on-campus residence at the university.
The first “priority” deadline for the completed application for the spring 2013 scholarship is November 15, followed by a second “priority” deadline of December 15. The “final date” to submit the completed application is January 4, 2013.
Every transfer student will automatically be evaluated for all applicable merit-scholarships. Students who submit a FAFSA to IIT will also be considered for need-based financial assistance.
To be considered for the Presidential Scholarship, students must be nominated by their College President and admitted to IIT and then they will be considered by IIT's scholarship committee for the Presidential Scholarship. To apply, visit IIT.edu and type “Presidential Scholarship” in the search content box. You will navigate to the Presidential Scholarship/Undergraduate Admission link. Click the link to access the application information.
Bobbie Bowman, fall 2012 IIT Presidential Scholar, says he, too, was looking to enhance his earning potential when he decided to enroll in Harold Washington College (HWC). He says that attending HWC was the big break he needed to help him transition back into study mode while brushing up on his math skills. He credits his counselors and the HWC staff with providing the guidance he needed to help him adjust to campus life while keeping up with his studies. Although the 30-year-old is now a psychology major at IIT, he says his journey has just begun as he settles into his new campus life.
“Winning the award means I will have to continue working hard to reach my goals,” he explained. “However, giving up is not an option – even if I'm having a difficult time. My ultimate goal is to earn my master’s in industrial psychology.”
IIT enrolled 68 students from across all of the City Colleges as transfer students for the fall 2012 semester. Along with admission, each student was awarded a scholarship by IIT, with 15 students receiving IIT’s Presidential Scholarship.
In all, about 200 former students from the City Colleges of Chicago are currently enrolled as full-time students at IIT. “I know first-hand the value of an education at City Colleges and IIT. Both schools prepared me for where I am today,” said Chancellor Cheryl Hyman of City Colleges of Chicago. “One of our key Reinvention goals is increasing the rate at which our students complete and transfer on to four-year institutions. IIT has been a tremendous partner in this effort, and is helping us put our students on the path to success.”
Thanks to articulation and transfer agreements between the CCC and several four-year institutions, including the University of Illinois, IIT, DePaul University, Lewis University, Northern Illinois University, Northeastern Illinois University, and Eastern Illinois University, CCC offers its students a smooth transition to the four-year college or university partner of their choice. CCC provides outstanding educational and professional opportunities and a superb faculty at a very affordable tuition. Students obtain a great foundation towards a four-year degree while saving thousands of dollars of educational expenses.