Chicago Scholars Announces Partnership with Chapin Hall at University of Chicago; 5-Year Study Will Assess Impact

CHICAGO, Nov. 10, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Leading youth development nonprofit Chicago Scholars will partner with Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, conducting a randomized controlled trial evaluating the efficacy of the organization’s initiatives to provide first-generation, low-income students with college preparation and success strategies.

In early September, Chapin Hall was awarded a $2 million grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) National Center for Education Research (NCER) to conduct a five-year randomized controlled study of Chicago Scholars. Having equipped more than 5,000 first-generation and low-income students with academic support and leadership skills as they apply to and attend leading colleges and universities, Chicago Scholars has seen tremendous growth and success in their programming over the past 25 years.

"In line with our mission to provide Scholars with the best resources possible to help them succeed in college and as leaders in their communities and future careers, Chicago Scholars is constantly evolving to meet the needs of our students," says Jeffery Beckham, Jr., CEO of Chicago Scholars. "This study will be instrumental in measuring the impact that our program has on our students, and it has the potential to be life-changing for students across the country as the results can be used to better inform policymakers and replicate our success in other college access and success programs around the nation."

Throughout the multi-year trial, 1,100 students from under-resourced and underrepresented communities in Chicago will participate in the study. About half of the participants will undergo Chicago Scholars’ intensive seven-year college access and success programming. The other half will be referred to other college preparation and support programs in the local area. The study is designed to measure two primary outcomes: 1) college enrollment and student persistence during college and 2) the quality of colleges that students enroll in and each college’s track record for graduating similar students.

"At Chapin Hall, we are dedicated to providing decision-makers with rigorous research and tangible solutions to improve child and family well-being. This includes addressing the barriers we need to overcome to offer equitable resources and opportunities to students," says Dr. Leah Gjertson, a senior researcher at Chapin Hall. "Chicago Scholars is doing important work, and we are excited to work with them to gain a better understanding of the impact their programs have on individual students and the greater Chicago community."

The Chicago Scholars program is centered around developing the next generation of leaders. The program offers guidance and resources throughout the college application process, and then provides support during the transition and throughout students’ college experience to ensure students thrive in college. Chicago Scholars has also infused career and leadership development throughout its seven-year program to help Scholars launch their careers after college. Compared to the 48 percent of Chicago Public School students who enroll and receive a college degree within six years, 83 percent of Chicago Scholars graduates receive a college degree within the same time period.

Academically ambitious students interested in joining the Chicago Scholars program apply during their junior year of high school. This year’s applications will open in late November, kicking off programming and mentorship for the college application process in the following spring. Participation in the study is not required and will not impact acceptance opportunities. For more information on how to apply, visit, or email the team at

This research is supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant R305A210484 to Chapin Hall Center for Children. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the Institute or the U.S. Department of Education.

About Chicago Scholars:

Chicago Scholars is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit leadership development organization that empowers academically ambitious first-generation or low-income students to overcome systemic barriers to success in college and beyond while preparing the city’s businesses and organizations for the next generation of leaders. For more information visit

Carleigh Rinefierd
Mekky Media Relations

SOURCE Chicago Scholars