DePaul University's campus in Lincoln Park. Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago

NORTH LAWNDALE — DePaul University freshmen from North Lawndale can get a full ride thanks to a scholarship program launched to help students from the neighborhood.

At least two students will win the scholarships in fall. The award will cover four years of study at DePaul, including tuition, room and board, books, fees, tech and all other expenses.

The $5 million scholarship program is funded by Heather, Robin and Jennifer Steans, board members for the Steans Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization focused on enhancing the social and economic fabric of North Lawndale.

The John Horan Endowed Scholarship Program is named in honor of the founder and president emeritus of North Lawndale College Prep High School.

“John is one of the most inspiring people we know, and he will be a huge supporter and advocate for these scholars,” Jennifer Steans said. “We are proud to continue supporting John’s mission, and the mission of our family, in this way.”

Incoming freshmen from Lawndale are automatically considered for the scholarship when they apply, and eligible students will be selected to interview for the award.

Full-time undergraduates at the Lincoln Park-based campus can expect to pay about $59,000 annually in tuition, room and board and various fees before before any financial aid is counted.

The scholarship covers all costs of the student experience at DePaul, including study abroad and funding unpaid internships. The program is aimed at eliminating financial barriers to attending the university, as well as the barriers to participating in every opportunity available to students for enrichment and career advancement, said Dan Allen, DePaul’s vice president for advancement.

“We need to provide them access to really intriguing internship opportunities … access to employers,” Allen said. “We need to provide those pathways to them because that can be a barrier as well.”

The donation from the Steans family also funds a graduate assistant in DePaul’s Office of Multicultural Student Success to oversee the cohort of Horan scholarship recipients. The assistant will coordinate peer mentorships and develop a network of support for scholars.

“The more supported that students feel, and the more they are part of a community of folks just like them, the more likely it is that they’re going to persist on to the degree,” Allen said.

Pascal Sabino is a Report for America corps member covering Austin, North Lawndale and Garfield Park for Block Club Chicago.

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