CRE N Illinois

Developer jump starts New ERA Scholarship for students with $1.2M donation


The New ERA Scholarship will support 300 low-income African American students headed to college and guide them through career opportunities.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Robert Morris University and Chicago Public Schools to announce a partnership and scholarship for graduating high school seniors. The scholarship will be offered through RMU and offer dual credit courses to Wells High School students in addition for helping them prepare for college.

The scholarship will be funded by RMU and private philanthropists, one being developer Michael Alter and his family who made a $1.2 million donation that helped get the project off the ground. Forty students are already funded for the first cohort of the scholarship which lasts from 2018 until 2022. With the Alter’s gift, the scholarship hopes to support 100 students every year. Each student receives $5,000 annually to cover the cost remaining after RMU’s grant of $7,100, MAP and Pell grants and the Federal Stafford loan.

The vision for the scholarship is to transform the lives and communities by ensuring graduation and employment opportunities for students. The scholarship allows financially challenged students to graduate and enter the workforce with huge debt looming over them.

“So many of our students have the intelligence, ambition and character needed to make college success a reality, but they just need financial support to get there,” CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson said in a statement. “This initiative will provide so many of our kids with the final boost they need to make it to college and fulfill their great promise.”