Photo by Rob Kozloff

UChicago Promise, an initiative aimed at helping high school students from the city of Chicago aspire to and prepare for the best college education possible, contributed to a 48.8 percent boost in the number of Chicago applicants to the University of Chicago in its first year and helped hundreds more students prepare for and navigate the admissions process for other colleges and universities.

Announced in October 2012, UChicago Promise encompasses financial aid, college admissions workshops, mentorship, and a number of college preparation and pipeline programs. This week, the University released a report on the first year of UChicago Promise that shows hundreds of students, parents, and high school guidance counselors benefitted from the initiative.

The centerpiece of UChicago Promise was the University’s pledge to help students graduate debt-free by eliminating loans from the financial aid packages of those who qualified for aid—a commitment that was worth $2.2 million for the 2013-14 academic year.

Among other highlights, UChicago Promise:

  • Saved Chicago families a total of $89,475 in application fees through a new automatic waiver
  • Coached 1,100 students and parents through workshops on college interviews, essay writing, and financial aid
  • Served more than 250 public school students through academic enrichment programs, including Upward Bound and the Collegiate Scholars Program
  • Brought more than 500 middle school and high school students to the UChicago campus through GEAR UP, a national program aimed at increasing access to postsecondary education

To read the first year-in-review report, download it here.

For more information on UChicago Promise, visit For more information on the University of Chicago's commitment to college access and affordability, download this overview.

Originally published on January 15, 2014.