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College Fund for Jorge Lopez

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When I think of public service, I am reminded of the act of giving and being selfless, but I am also reminded of its lack of frequency. In college, I hope that I can further enrich the meaning of public service by continuing to volunteer in different organizations. What I hope for the most, however, is that college will help me find a career that is an act of constant public service.

I chose Albion College in Michigan because of the various institutions that are available to me that range from public policy to environmental science. My current academic plan is to major in public policy, but I also have great interest for engineering. It all comes down to getting exposure, and from that I’ll know what to pursue.

Albion also gave me the best financial aid from the schools I applied to ($24,000 of aid a year.) I had other options such as Coe College and DePaul University but the financial aid offered didn’t compare with Albion’s.

I could have taken a much cheaper route and attended community college, but after reading about a recent study co-authored by Sara Goldrick-Rab, a professor of educational policy studies and sociology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, I learned that “CPS graduates who had the academic background to attend a selective four-year college but instead enrolled in a City College were 31 to 41 percentage points less likely to earn a bachelor’s degree within six years than similar students who opted to attend a four-year school instead.”  The study was published in the journal Sociological Science.  The transfer rates only pushed me away farther.

To make this all possible, I need to pay $6,000 a year apart from personal expenses. At the beginning of this summer, I had 25-35 hour work weeks, and now I have 39-47 hour work weeks after picking up a second job.

At 17 years of age, I am an athlete, a reader and a student. I will be the first in my family to attend college. I’m a Latino from the Southwest side of Chicago who has lived here my entire life. I went to elementary school at Pasteur and attended high school 7 blocks away at John Hancock College Prep, both being Chicago Public Schools. This neighborhood has become my home, but it’s all I’ve ever really known and that’s why I wanted to go out of state.

February and early March of this year were amazing times in Chicago as the mayoral election had its first run off ever! And I helped make that happen. During this time, I spent anywhere between 10-20 hours a week out in cold temperatures and sometimes even in snow while going to school and working 18-25 hours a week as a busboy as well. I got out of my comfort zone and walked in unfamiliar neighborhoods and spoke to people of a candidate who I whole-heartedly believed would make a difference in my city. Although they allowed me to be part of a paid internship later on in the election, it compares very little to the wonderful experience that I had getting to know different parts of the city, getting young people to vote, and simply contributing to local politics.

 Apart from this, I have also given 80+ hours of volunteer work at my former elementary school.

I plan to have $3,000 saved by the end of the break which will all go to pay my enormous bill. My father is the only other individual who is employed in my home and makes, on average, $50,000 year. However, he is able to contribute very little aid because of two sick grandparents in Mexico. Both are very old; one is paralyzed and the other is barely able to walk and all medical expenses are responsibilities that he has to take care.

As you can imagine, only a fraction of this enormous bill can be paid by my family and me and that’s why I’m reaching out to to all you for a donation.  Even the smallest of gifts will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read!


Jorge Lopez
Chicago, IL

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