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Student Support and Enrollment

UChicago Community Exceeds Odyssey Challenge Goal

The University community exceeded the first goal of the Odyssey scholarship challenge, bringing the program’s endowment to more than $44 million in June—exceeding the proposed $38 million benchmark. Launched in 2008 by an anonymous gift of $100 million from a College alumnus, the Odyssey scholarship program aims to eliminate or reduce loans for UChicago undergraduates from low- or moderate-income families. Odyssey’s generous unnamed donor designed his gift with a challenge for the University to raise an additional $300 million. More than 1,100 Odyssey Scholars now attend the College, and the award saves a low-income student, on average, nearly $35,000 in debt (including principal and interest), on top of already generous financial aid.

University Commits to Expansion of Graduate Aid

In February, Provost Thomas F. Rosenbaum and Deputy Provost for Graduate Education Cathy J. Cohen announced their commitment to make the Graduate Aid Initiative available to more graduate students in the future. The program, announced in 2007 and expanded in 2008, helps graduate students in the humanities, social sciences, and Divinity School pursue their degrees without the distraction of undue financial burden. The University’s original commitment to the initiative was $52.3 million over six years. Several other committee recommendations designed to support the quality of the graduate student experience at UChicago were endorsed, including the phased elimination of extended residence status, a normative time to candidacy, the extended freezing of advanced residence out-of-pocket tuition, allowing flexibility in the timing of students’ last year of Graduate Aid Initiative funding, institution of a centralized system of teaching applications and processing, and working with the divisions and schools to implement best practices from our own institution and peers.

College Applications Grow in Number and Diversity

The University recorded a substantial increase in applications to the College for 2010 admission, forming the largest and most diverse undergraduate applicant pool in the school’s history while maintaining the highest academic standards. The 43 percent rise in applications included increases from minorities and from all income levels, from every geographic region of the U.S., and from outside the country. Early-action applications increased by 32 percent over the previous record in 2007. Leaders at the University said the increases reflect a larger number of talented students becoming familiar with the distinctive opportunities available at UChicago. “Our students and faculty place great value on intellectual curiosity, diversity of thought, and openness to the world,” said John W. Boyer, Dean of the College. “Attracting more students who share our values enriches our academic culture of constantly testing ideas and arguments.” Of the students who were admitted, a record 39 percent chose to attend.

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