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Education grant supports expansion of services supporting Chicago public housing residents attending community colleges


Backed by a new $500,000 grant from Kresge’s Education Program, One Million Degrees (OMD) is expanding its comprehensive community college student support services to more Chicago Housing Authority residents attending the City Colleges of Chicago.

The new partnership is designed to set students on a path to complete associate degrees and launch careers that will enable them to achieve financial security and economic mobility. Nationally recognized researcher Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab and her team at the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice, based at Temple University, will evaluate the program.

The Education team made the three-year grant as part of its work to align and strengthen urban higher education ecosystems. The grant will expand One Million Degrees’ individualized student-centered supports, which include mentoring, tutoring, professional development and financial stipends.

“This partnership will provide 600 public housing recipients with critical supports to start and complete credentials and degrees,” said Bethany Miller, program officer in Kresge’s Education Program. “It’s also exciting because through the evaluation, it will provide further evidence to the public housing authority community on how to best support housing recipients as they pursue a postsecondary education.”

One Million Degrees sees how our vibrant community and an ecosystem of supports help hard-working students complete their degrees and launch their careers. We’re grateful for Kresge’s investment to expand our services to hundreds of CHA residents attending City Colleges in the next three years and together, scale our collective impact,” said Paige Ponder, CEO of One Million Degrees.

The new collaboration builds on the Chicago Housing Authority’s Partners in Education program, which offers public housing residents attending City Colleges support for tuition, books and fees. The authority is the second-largest public housing agency in the nation, serving some 64,000 families.