Gateway Program Redefines Adult Ed to Support Students’ Advancement

 Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - EducationTo support adult education students’ successful transition to college-credit courses, City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) has expanded its unique Gateway program to all seven of its colleges for the Fall 2012 semester. All students selected for the program —known as Gateway Scholars—take the new Gateway College Success Seminar as their first college-credit course, and will receive special academic support, career planning advice and tuition assistance as they progress toward their degree goal. The program has grown by 100 percent, to more than 280 students, since its launch in Fall 2011.

The Gateway program, available to high-level ESL (English as a second language) and GED students with college aspirations, redefines adult education as an “on ramp” to college. Among other things, the program includes tuition-waived courses, mandatory advising sessions with college transition specialists and advisors, recognition events and the College Success Seminar course.

“The College Success seminar taught me a lot. When it started, I didn’t know what to expect in college,” said Elizabeth Marquez, a Gateway scholar who completed the seminar this summer at Daley College. “The class taught us to be prepared, and informed us about City Colleges’ Wellness Center, tutors, and other tools that we can use to succeed. We are more prepared to be in college now.”

A former ESL student who became a U.S. citizen in August, Marquez is the founder and president of the CCC’s first Gateway scholars’ student club. She is taking college-credit classes at Daley this fall while working part-time at CCC’s District Office, where she is helping to chart the future of the Gateway program as part of Reinvention.

“As the largest adult education provider in Chicago, City Colleges has a responsibility to aggressively help more students move through college courses to earn a credential to improve their lives and employment prospects,” said Chancellor Cheryl Hyman.

This fall, more than 280 students are enrolled in Gateway, up from 138 in fall 2011, when the program operated at three city colleges: Daley, Olive-Harvey and Truman. Gateway is based on the successful Truman College Incentive Program, which received the 2010 Innovation Award from the Illinois Council of Community College Administrators. More information about Gateway and CCC’s other Adult Ed programs is available at

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