Record Number of Scholarship Applications Point to Popularity, Potential of Program
Rockford Promise closes 2021-22 scholarship process; numbers exceed expectations
Rockford, IL; March 2, 2021: Rockford Promise recently closed its application process for the 2021-2022 academic with a record number of 284 Rockford Public Schools seniors applying for scholarships to at least one of three institutions including Rock Valley College, Rockford University and Northern Illinois University. This was the first year Rockford Promise was able to extend NIU as an option, made possible by an $1.5M annual funding commitment by the City of Rockford to fund these scholarships.
Rockford Promise received 228 applications for the NIU scholarship, which is open to current graduating seniors of RPS 205 with a 3.0 GPA who live within the Rockford City limits. Initial estimates for the number of students who might apply in the first year were 175, pointing to both the popularity and potential of the program. As Sol Jensen, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications at NIU, states, “NIU remains deeply committed to providing access and affordability toward an unparalleled higher education, and the impressive number of applications for these scholarships certainly demonstrates the interest of Rockford students in attending a great institution like ours. Our tally of admitted students from Rockford has more than doubled over this time last year, as the number of admission applications from Rockford students has risen 80%,” Jensen added. “This is a trend that we see only growing while we continue to support this exciting partnership.”
Rockford Promise is based on the Kalamazoo Promise out of Kalamazoo, Michigan, which promises every student who graduates from Kalamazoo Public Schools a scholarship to attend college. The Kalamazoo Promise has positively impacted high school graduation, college attendance, property values and public-school enrollment, and local leaders seek to replicate the initiative in Rockford.
“It’s a tremendous investment in our students, that delivers a great return for our community,” shared Mayor Tom McNamara, of the City of Rockford. “Promise programs around the nation are delivering positive, measurable impact on their communities, and I’m excited to see Rockford Promise scale scholarships and support to realize their full potential.”
With applications now closed, Rockford Promise will conduct a verification process for the NIU scholarships and complete Scholar interviews for the RVC and Rockford University options. Official Rockford Promise-NIU scholarship notifications will begin going out mid-March and a public ceremony is being planned for early May to announce all Rockford Promise Scholars.
“The support of the City for the NIU option allows us to extend the Rockford Promise to more students than ever before, which is remarkable,” shared Susan Fumo president of the Rockford Promise board. “We’re still committed to raising the funds and support necessary to both offer other scholarship options a RVC and RU and support our Scholars through their educational journey.”