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UChicago Empower

UChicago Dean Boyer
The UChicago Empower Initiative continues the University and College’s unwavering commitment to access and inclusion. Throughout the past century, UChicago has considered a broad diversity of cultural perspectives and academic merit without regard to socioeconomic class to be fundamental – as exemplified by our Odyssey Scholarship Program, Jeff Metcalf Internship Program, and No Barriers offerings that enable outstanding students of all backgrounds to enjoy a UChicago education."
John W. Boyer - Dean of the College

The University of Chicago welcomes all and is deeply committed to ensuring that students from every background can find a home here. Beginning with the Class of 2023, the UChicago Empower Initiative will increase access to UChicago by expanding access for first-generation and rural students, enhancing financial support for those who serve our communities, and enabling student agency and ownership in the college admissions process.
 
UChicago Empower is focused in three main areas:

  • Providing free technology and greater flexibility in the admissions process to empower applicants and create a level playing field for all students
  • Expanding financial support, on-campus programming, and online resources for first-generation students, rural students, and under-represented students
  • Launching new scholarships and access programs to recognize those who serve our country and our local communities

“Today, many under-resourced and underrepresented students, families, and school advisers perceive top-ranked colleges as inaccessible without the means to help students stand out in the application process,” said James G. Nondorf, Dean of Admissions and Vice President of Enrollment and Student Advancement at the University of Chicago. “The UChicago Empower Initiative levels the playing field, allowing first-generation and low-income students to use technology and other resources to present themselves as well as any other college applicant. We want students to understand the application does not define you—you define the application!”

Elements of the UChicago Empower Initiative:

Free tools and new flexibility in the application process

New scholarships, support, and programming for underserved students and families

  • UChicago will guarantee free tuition for families with incomes under $125,000 per year (with typical assets)
  • Families earning less than $60,000 (with typical assets) will have tuition, fees, and room and board covered by financial aid
  • Students who are the first in their families to attend college will receive a $20,000 scholarship over four years and a guaranteed paid internship for their first summer
  • New free mentoring technology provided by Wisr to further alumni mentorship and support for
    first-generation and low-income students
  • Following the success of the Neubauer Adelante Summer Scholars program for students engaged in Latino/Hispanic communities, UChicago will launch the Allison Davis Jr. Education Summit and the UChicago Women’s Board sponsorship of Summer Scholars Program for African-American Students—fully funded summer opportunities for talented high school students seeking to explore a highly selective college experience at UChicago
  • New funding for professional development programming for counselors from rural high schools
  • Expanded Student Opportunities and Aspirations Roadmap for Success program, which provides admissions workshops through partnerships with school districts in Illinois
  • Membership in the American Talent Initiative, a coalition of colleges and universities committed to engaging and enrolling outstanding students from low- and moderate-income households

Recognizing those who serve our country and our communities

UChicago’s enhancements to its admissions policies aim to empower historically underrepresented communities in the highly selective admissions process and provide more ownership over the admissions process to students. UChicago’s expansion of its equity and access programming includes additional resources for first-generation college students, underrepresented students of color, military veterans, and students from rural high schools. Revised admissions policies, including a new test-optional selection for domestic students, offer students increased flexibility and ownership to define and share what they feel best represents them in the admissions process. Similarly, students now have the choice to make use of the media of their choice to better personalize elements of their application, including submitting a two-minute video introduction in lieu of the traditional college interview. Together, these changes reflect the University of Chicago’s ongoing commitment to engaging students with a diversity of identities, backgrounds, and experiences, building on the University’s Odyssey program, UChicago Promise, and the No Barriers philosophy. In keeping with these core values, UChicago’s updated application requirements and programming will ensure increased access to a University of Chicago education, empowering students from all backgrounds by providing them the freedom to craft an application that portrays their best, most authentic selves.

“The UChicago Empower Initiative continues the University and College’s unwavering commitment to access and inclusion,” said John W. Boyer, Dean of the College at the University of Chicago. “Throughout the past century, UChicago has considered a broad diversity of cultural perspectives and academic merit without regard to socioeconomic class to be fundamental—as exemplified by our Odyssey Scholarship Program, Jeff Metcalf Internship Program, and No Barriers offerings that enable outstanding students of all backgrounds to enjoy a UChicago education. We are delighted to now also provide an admission process that makes UChicago even more accessible by enabling students to present their best, most authentic selves.”