CHICAGO (Dec. 14, 2016): The Chicago Housing Authority has received $452,000 as part of a federal grant to help young people living in public housing apply for federal student aid and other post-secondary education opportunities.
CHA was one of nine Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) awarded a total of $2.5 million by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) for Education Program. The new demonstration program provides PHA grant funding for education navigators to help public housing youth ages 15-20 and their families apply for HUD’s “Free Application for Federal Student Aid” (FAFSA).
It will also assist with financial literacy and college readiness, post-secondary program applications and post-acceptance assistance.
“The CHA would like to thank HUD for its commitment to education for public housing residents,” CHA CEO Eugene Jones, Jr. said. “On the road to self-sufficiency, there is no more important tool than education. And this grant will allow residents to navigate the often-complicated world of student aid, which is vital to their ultimate success. It is just one more way that CHA will help residents with scholarship and education opportunities in 2017.”
This year, CHA awarded 230 college students with $268,000 in scholarships to help them pay for college. Since 2013-14, when CHA assumed oversight of its Scholarship Program, the agency has provided support to 534 recipients totaling almost $850,000.
This year’s awardees attend colleges across the city, state and country, and 99 are returning scholarship winners whose achievements and hard work have resulted in ongoing support.
The ROSS program will now help supplement those efforts even further.
Increased access to higher education can significantly improve life outcomes. According to HUD, the Department of Education estimates that those who earn a bachelor’s degree earn two-thirds more than those with only a high school diploma or an average of $1 million more in lifetime earnings. In addition, college graduates are far less likely to face unemployment. It’s also estimated that within the next four years, two-thirds of all new full-time jobs will require a college education.
“Achieving the dream of a college education is becoming more of a reality for hundreds of students living in HUD-assisted housing,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro said. “This is an investment in our young people by putting them on a path to a college degree and creating greater opportunity to more prosperous lives.”
CHA was among four agencies to receive the $452,000 award. The other PHAs were Phoenix, Los Angeles and Seattle.