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Financial Support will Allow Most Impacted Students to Enroll in the University’s New Associate Degree Program in Pilsen

River Forest and Chicago, IL— Dominican University is continuing its longstanding commitment to removing barriers to education with strategic scholarships aimed at reducing the impact of this year’s problematic FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) rollout. The new scholarships will be made available to student groups who have been disproportionately impacted by the technical challenges and delays. 

These scholarships are prioritized for selected Black/African American students and children of undocumented/mixed-status parents who are among those in danger of not proceeding with their plans for higher education due to the FAFSA process. Scholarships have also been created to support undocumented students as an extension of the university’s dedication to serving all students regardless of documentation as a Sanctuary Campus. Recipients will have nearly all their tuition and housing covered at Dominican’s new Chicago Campus, significantly reducing the financial stress of higher education. 

Earlier this year, Dominican announced plans for its innovative Chicago Campus. The university’s new programmatic pathway is designed with similar goals in mind, offering a two-year associate degree program with on-site housing and career-focused concentrations in high-demand areas of cybersecurity, nursing assistant, translation and interpretation, and legal studies. Students who complete the program will have the credentials to enter the workforce or transition seamlessly to Dominican’s bachelor’s degree program in River Forest. Dominican developed this city immersion campus to serve students from surrounding communities with a rigorous curriculum and community-based programs that build connections to career pathways. The campus will also serve as a hub for credit and non-credit workforce development certificate programs, adult degree completion options and select graduate programs, pending all appropriate accreditation and state approvals.

“At Dominican University, we believe the inability to access federal financial aid opportunities should not prevent students from achieving their goals of higher education, especially students who rely the most on financial support,” said Dr. Glena G. Temple, university president. “Our new Chicago Campus in Pilsen has been created to expand access to education and offer new career pathways to communities that are traditionally underserved. By providing these special scholarships to students who enroll, we are continuing our mission of removing roadblocks to education and careers.”

Supporting Undocumented and Black/African American Students with Dedicated Scholarships

Appearing before members of Congress last month, National College Attainment Network CEO Kim Cook noted that high school seniors who complete the FAFSA are 84% more likely to immediately enroll in postsecondary education while adding that this year’s FAFSA problems could create a “catastrophic decline in college enrollment.”

More than 80 percent of first-time, first-year college students receive some form of financial aid, but the percentage of Black students relying on aid is even higher, according to statistics from Education Data Initiative. Being unable to access this assistance in time for enrollment could cause more Black students to forgo college.

To remove this barrier, Dominican University will offer a competitive scholarship for Black/African American students, offsetting the cost of tuition and housing for the Chicago Campus associate degree program—resulting in an out-of-pocket cost as low as $250 per student.

Similarly, children of undocumented/mixed-status parents have been greatly impacted by the new FAFSA form because it initially required social security numbers for the form to be accepted. These students were unable to complete the application until corrections were made in mid-March, further delaying their aid packages and impacting their ability to commit to attending college in the fall.

Undocumented students are ineligible to receive federal financial aid and are also often limited in their higher education options due to financing.

In response to these challenges, Dominican will offer scholarships to undocumented students or students of undocumented/mixed-status parents who are Illinois residents, and who enroll in the Chicago Campus associate degree program. Up to $19,000 will be provided per student over two years, covering a majority of tuition and housing costs.

Interested students should apply to the associate degree program by June 15 to be considered for these scholarships. No additional application is required.

“As a federally designated Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Sanctuary Campus, and a school of choice for many undocumented students who have achieved academic excellence, Dominican is proud to offer these scholarship opportunities for our new Chicago Campus in Pilsen,” said Genaro A. Balcazar, chief operating officer and senior vice president of Dominican University. “Our university has a history of responding to student needs, and offering this financial aid in the wake of FAFSA complications is just the latest example of this support and our commitment to our students.”

Students who pursue an associate degree at Dominican’s Chicago Campus will receive an education with a career-focused curriculum, community-based learning and a cohort-based, residential experience aimed to minimize outside distractions that can get in the way of success. Students will also have access to on-site wraparound support services, including advising, tutoring, career coaching, financial wellness and more. 

More information on Dominican University’s Chicago Campus and other academic programs can be found at

About Dominican University      

Founded in 1901, Dominican University is a comprehensive, coeducational Catholic institution offering an associate of arts in liberal arts and sciences as well as bachelor’s and master’s degrees through the Rosary College of Arts and Sciences, the Borra College of Health Sciences, the Brennan School of Business and the College of Applied Social Sciences. The university also offers doctoral degrees in information studies and applied social justice. U.S. News & World Report ranks Dominican University #11 out of all Midwest regional master’s level universities, #1 in the Midwest for Best Value and #1 in Illinois for innovation and ensuring the social mobility of its graduates. Dominican University has campuses in River Forest and Chicago.