October 15, 2020


DePaul Creates New Scholarship to Offer Private Education at Attainable Cost

Families are increasingly burdened by financial strain due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and many are concerned with how they can afford a private university education. In response to that, this fall, DePaul University established the new State Scholar Plus University Scholarship Program. To talk about the new program, who’s eligible, and how it aligns with DePaul’s Vincentian mission and purpose is university President, Dr. Esteban.



​LINDA BLAKLEY: Welcome to DePaul Download. I'm your host, Linda Blakley, vice president of University Marketing and Communications.

In a time when families are increasingly burdened by financial strain, DePaul University responded to the call this Fall with its signature attitude of “Here, We Do" and by launching the State Scholar Plus University Scholarship Program. The scholarship will give high achieving students the chance at a private university education at an attainable cost.

To tell us more about the scholarship, who is eligible, and how it aligns with our Vincentian mission and purpose is DePaul University President Dr. Gabriel Esteban.

Dr. Esteban, welcome back to the DePaul Download podcast. It's great to talk with you again.

DR. GABRIEL ESTEBAN: Hi, Linda. It's great to be here.

LINDA BLAKLEY: Many high school students and their parents may think a private university education is out of financial reach. What would you say to them?

DR. GABRIEL ESTEBAN: At DePaul, we have a lot of merit-based scholarships to make an education here more affordable. This Fall, we offered $249 million in institutional scholarships and grants to new incoming students and continuing students as well.

LINDA BLAKLEY: This Fall, DePaul will offer the State Scholar Plus University Scholarship. What is it and what makes it different from other DePaul scholarships?

DR. GABRIEL ESTEBAN: In a time when families are increasingly burdened by financial strain, DePaul's new State Scholar Plus University Scholarship Program extends an opportunity to high achieving students nationwide to earn a private university education at a very attainable cost.

The State Scholar Plus Program provides qualified high school graduates up and equal to $100,000 in scholarship funds over four consecutive years of undergraduate studies. The program is designed to make DePaul, the largest Catholic university in the country and largest private university in the Midwest, as affordable as it would be to attend a flagship public university in Illinois.

LINDA BLAKLEY: Just who is eligible for this scholarship?

DR. GABRIEL ESTEBAN: The scholarship is available to students in every state. They must rank in the top 10 percent of their graduating class, and earn a 3.75 or higher graduating GPA.

A completed Common Application form must be submitted no later than November 15, DePaul's Early Action Plan deadline. Admission and scholarship decisions will be communicated no later than December 15 for EAP applicants.

LINDA BLAKLEY: Do recipients have to fulfill any requirements in order to receive the package's full value?

DR. GABRIEL ESTEBAN: In order to receive the full value of the $100,000 scholarship over four consecutive years, which is $25,000 a year of undergrad studies, students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 and make satisfactory academic progress towards a degree at DePaul for all four years.

LINDA BLAKLEY: I want to come back and ask what inspired DePaul to create the State Scholar Plus Program.

DR. GABRIEL ESTEBAN: Great question Linda.

DePaul already has similar scholarships for qualified students in Illinois. Creating this scholarship answers the Vincentian question, “what must be done?"

We realized that many families and students are facing unprecedented challenges right now with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and we wanted to create another opportunity for students to achieve their dreams by getting a degree.

That brings me to my next question. Is this the first time we've created a scholarship like this?

DR. GABRIEL ESTEBAN: The State Scholar Plus University Scholarship Program is available to prospective students in all 50 states.

This scholarship builds upon the commitment DePaul made in 2018 with the Chicago Promise Scholarship and the Catholic Heritage Scholarship that a high-quality private education at DePaul is within financial reach to students.

LINDA BLAKLEY: Why is it important to create scholarship opportunities like this, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic?

DR. GABRIEL ESTEBAN: As you mentioned in your introduction, the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted students' ability to pay for higher education. By creating another scholarship program, we are giving more students access to high-quality private education.

Furthermore, these types of programs broaden students' access to higher education. This is a critical way to mitigate inequality which helps to make society fairer, more equitable and more productive. Students who may not have had the financial resources to go to a private institution before now have a chance to do so.

LINDA BLAKLEY: How does this align with DePaul's Vincentian mission and values?

DR. GABRIEL ESTEBAN: The State Scholar Plus Program is true to DePaul's institutional mission. DePaul has a long-standing commitment to providing students from all backgrounds access to a high-quality education.

One prime example - in 2012, DePaul became the first major university to adopt a test optional admissions policy in recognition of the fact that student capabilities are more complex than those measured by any standardized test. To this day, students can apply to DePaul without submitting ACT or SAT scores.

LINDA BLAKLEY: During a time when money is tight in many households, why should students consider a private university education, and specifically DePaul? What do students find here that they won't find anywhere else?

DR. GABRIEL ESTEBAN: The DePaul experience prepares students to serve in a changing world.

Research has shown that there is a shorter time to graduation and higher long-term return on this important investment.

Our outstanding faculty are focused on teaching, on developing our students intellectually and exposing them to real world experience, and that shows because about 60+ percent of our undergrads complete at least one internship during their studies here at DePaul.

This layered on top of the values that drive our university, this commitment to the public good, that the world needs more DePaul graduates than ever before.

LINDA BLAKLEY: What advice would you give to parents, students and working professionals who are looking for ways to pay for a higher education?

DR. GABRIEL ESTEBAN: Don't overlook a private institution based simply on the dollar amount you see online.

A college education is an investment in your future. People who graduate from a four-year university earn almost $1.1 million more in their lifetime than those with a high school degree.

As I mentioned earlier, we offer $249 million in institutional scholarships and grants to new, incoming students and continuing students. Scholarships are gift aid so you don't have to repay them or earn them by working. 88 percent of our new, incoming freshmen receive a scholarship.

In addition to merit aid, DePaul's Financial Aid team is available to help. Each year, they create financial aid packages for thousands of students, and are available by phone, email, even live chat.

LINDA BLAKLEY: Thank you, Dr. Esteban, for joining me today.

DR. GABRIEL ESTEBAN: I'm glad to be here, Linda.

LINDA BLAKLEY: To listeners who are interested in this scholarship, please complete your Common Application by the Early Action Plan deadline on November 15. Admission and scholarship decisions for early action plan students will be announced no later than December 15.

For more information and a link to the Common Application, visit depaul.edu/admission​.

And in the coming weeks, be sure to keep an eye out for new DePaul Download episodes on our website. I will be sitting down with DePaul experts to discuss different aspects of the 2020 Presidential election.

I am Linda Blakley. Thank you for listening to another episode of DePaul Download presented by DePaul's Division of University Marketing and Communications.​