Promise Scholarship Program FAQs

About the Promise Scholarship

Under the Harper College Promise Scholarship Program every eligible public high school student in Harper's District can earn up to two years of tuition at Harper College if they maintain solid grades, have good attendance, don't repeat classes, graduate on time and provide service to their community.

The Harper College Promise Scholarship Program supports the variety of post-secondary plans that students may be interested in pursuing while attending Harper College, whether career or transfer. Once in attendance at Harper College, Promise students will develop an academic plan to determine what degree or certificate path they want to pursue using the scholarship. Students will base those plans on their individual needs to transfer from Harper College to a four-year university and/or obtain career or technical skills that lead to immediate employment. See the Harper College Catalog.

The first group of students eligible for the Harper College Promise Scholarship Program were freshmen students who entered high school in District 211, 214 or 220 in fall 2015.

While you are enrolled in high school, please contact your counselor for additional information about the program.

High School Student

Students will be eligible to sign up for the Promise Program through their respective high schools. The signup deadline is December 15 of the student's freshman year of high school (9th grade).

Yes. A student who graduates early can still qualify. A student who graduates early is encouraged to enroll the semester after graduation, but must enroll at Harper no later than the fall of the academic year following high school graduation.

The deadline for submitting Promise appeals is September 15. Information about appeals will be mailed in late-August. Please be advised that Harper provides other scholarships and financial assistance for students. Please visit Scholarships for more information.

During high school, community service hours are tracked through each respective high school. Community service programs regularly in place at the high school are eligible for the program. Please contact your high school for more information.

Participating in the Promise Scholarship Program does not commit a student to go to Harper.

Eligibility

Students must attend a participating district high school and meet the participation requirements for all four years of high school. Participating districts are:

  • Township High School District 211
  • Township High School District 214
  • Barrington Community Unit School District 220

Unfortunately no. Only students who signed up for the Promise Program by December 15 of the high school freshman/9th grade year are eligible for the Harper College Promise Scholarship Program. Learn about additional scholarship opportunities at Harper College.

Yes. Students must complete the FAFSA in order to be eligible for the Harper College Promise Scholarship Program. The FAFSA is required for a student to qualify for any governmental financial aid for higher education. Other scholarships are available that do not require the FAFSA. Learn about additional scholarship opportunities at Harper College.

Students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at time of entry to Harper College and prior to beginning subsequent fall semesters at Harper. Please note that the student must have a Social Security number in order to file a FAFSA. (Parents are not required to have Social Security numbers in order for their students to complete the FAFSA.)

Students without Social Security numbers are encouraged to participate in the Promise Scholarship Program during high school and then to pursue other scholarship opportunities at Harper.

Yes. Each year you attend high school, you are required to complete a recommitment of your participation in the Promise Program. If you are eligible to continue in the Promise Program, you will receive a letter in August with information about how to recommit to the program.

The criteria for the Promise Scholarship were developed by Harper College, area public high schools and northwest suburban business leaders to promote life skills and habits that will help students succeed in college and provide businesses with smart, skilled and motivated employees.

The program starts in the second semester of a student's freshman year in high school. If the student meets attendance, quality, rigor, persistence and community service requirements they can earn up to two years tuition at Harper College.

ATTENDANCE
Students may only miss the following number of days:

  • Second semester of freshman year: 5
  • Sophomore year: 9
  • Junior year: 8
  • Senior year: 7

Note: Student tardiness is measured in the first period that the student needs to be in attendance. Three instances of tardiness are equivalent to one day of absence.

RIGOR/QUALITY
Graduate from high school college-ready. The annual minimum grade point average (4.0 scale unweighted):

  • Second semester, freshman year 2.0
  • Sophomore year 2.25
  • Junior year 2.25*
  • Senior year 2.3* 

* No semester grades of D or F.

PERSISTENCE
Meet minimum credit standards at the end of each year. That is, a student must be promoted with their class each year and graduate on time with their class.

COMMUNITY SERVICE
Number of hours per year:

  • Second semester of freshman year: 5
  • Sophomore year: 10
  • Junior year: 15
  • Senior year: 20

Harper College will send a letter to Harper College Promise Scholarship Program students and their parents by the end of August each year to affirm their continued participation in the program or to notify them that they did not meet program criteria and that they are no longer eligible for the Promise Program. The letter will also include information about students' required annual recommitment to the Promise Program the following fall semester.

Attendance Requirements

Attendance is measured in days missed regardless of the reason of the absence. In accordance with Illinois policy, more than 50% of the day is a day in attendance.

No. Student tardiness is measured in the first period that the student needs to be in attendance. Three instances of tardiness are equivalent to one day of absence.

Preparing to Graduate

Yes. A student who graduates early can still qualify. A student who graduates early is encouraged to enroll the semester after graduation, but must enroll at Harper no later than the fall of the academic year following high school graduation.

Students must begin enrollment at Harper College no later than the fall semester following graduation from high school. A student who graduates early can still qualify. A student who graduates early is encouraged to enroll the semester after graduation, but must enroll at Harper no later than the fall of the academic year following high school graduation.

Summer school leading up to graduation is allowed in the GPA and on-time graduation calculation. Summer school grades are factored into the previous year's GPA. Summer school after the cohort's graduation is not allowed in the calculation.

No, students must graduate from one of the three participating high school districts to be eligible for the Harper College Promise Scholarship Program.

Upon graduation from high school, students must be prepared to enter a college-level sequence of courses at Harper College. Students must be eligible for enrollment in college-level math (MTH101 or higher) AND college-level English (ENG101 or higher) as evidenced by ACT or other college placement criteria in place at Harper College at time of registration.

Harper College Student

The Harper College Promise Scholarship Program covers remaining tuition once Pell and other grants and scholarships have been applied. Promise funds cannot be used for books or other indirect costs, such as transportation, living expenses, etc.

Yes. If a high school student meets the criteria, they will earn the first semester of Harper tuition free. They can continue to attend Harper College tuition free semester by semester up to four semesters, if they meet the following criteria.

RIGOR/QUALITY
Minimum grade point average:

  • 1st semester 2.2*
  • 2nd semester 2.3*
  • 3rd semester 2.5*
  • 4th semester 2.5*

*No grades of D or F.

PERSISTENCE
A student must attend full-time each semester. (minimum 15 credit hours.) A student must attend each consecutive semester until their certificate or degree is completed –– up to four semesters. Summer session tuition is not included in the program.

COMMUNITY SERVICE
Service requirements must be performed through a Harper--related program. Number of hours per semester:

  • 1st semester: 10
  • 2nd semester: 10
  • 3rd semester: 10
  • 4th semester: 10

Students must meet all program requirements in order to be eligible for the scholarship. Learn about additional scholarship opportunities at Harper College.

No. The Harper College Promise Scholarship Program covers remaining tuition once Pell and other grants and scholarships have been applied. Promise funds cannot be used for books or other indirect costs such as transportation, books, living expenses, etc.

No. The Harper College Promise Scholarship Program covers tuition only.

A student must enroll at Harper no later than the fall of the academic year following high school graduation and must maintain full-time continuous status (fall and spring). The student must enroll in a minimum of 15 credit hours per semester, to total no more than 60 credit hours over four semesters.

No. Summer session tuition is not included in the program.

Opportunities for Business Partners

Under the Harper College Promise Scholarship Program every eligible public high school student in Harper's District can earn up to two years of tuition at Harper College if they maintain solid grades, have good attendance, don't repeat classes, graduate on time and provide service to their community.

The Harper College Promise Scholarship Program supports the variety of post-secondary plans that students may be interested in pursuing while attending Harper College, whether career or transfer. Once in attendance at Harper College, Promise students will develop an academic plan to determine what degree or certificate path they want to pursue using the scholarship. Students will base those plans on their individual needs to transfer from Harper College to a four-year university and/or obtain career or technical skills that lead to immediate employment. See the Harper College Catalog.

The criteria for the Promise Scholarship were developed by Harper College, area public high schools and northwest suburban business leaders to promote life skills and habits that will help students succeed in college and provide businesses with smart, skilled and motivated employees.

The program starts in the second semester of a student's freshman year in high school. If the student meets attendance, quality, rigor, persistence and community service requirements they can earn up to two years tuition at Harper College.

ATTENDANCE
Students may only miss the following number of days:

  • Second semester of freshman year: 5
  • Sophomore year: 9
  • Junior year: 8
  • Senior year: 7

Note: Student tardiness is measured in the first period that the student needs to be in attendance. Three instances of tardiness are equivalent to one day of absence.

RIGOR/QUALITY
Graduate from high school college-ready. The annual minimum grade point average (4.0 scale unweighted):

  • Second semester, freshman year 2.0
  • Sophomore year 2.25
  • Junior year 2.25*
  • Senior year 2.3* 
*No grades of D or F.

PERSISTENCE
Meet minimum credit standards at the end of each year. That is, a student must be promoted with their class each year and graduate on time with their class.

COMMUNITY SERVICE
Number of hours per year:

  • Second semester of freshman year: 5
  • Sophomore year: 10
  • Junior year: 15
  • Senior year: 20

We are able to offer Promise Scholarships through the generous support of businesses and individuals. 

Students will never directly receive cash from the Harper College Promise Scholarship. Once other grants and scholarships have been applied and all eligibility requirements have been met, the Harper College Educational Foundation will send funds to cover the remaining cost of tuition.

Community Benefits

The Harper College Promise Scholarship Program emphasizes access to higher education in order to build a community and workforce that are competitive in the global economy. At the same time, Promise is about more than just access to college. Promise is about succeeding in college and completing college academic programs on time with a highly valued degree, credential or certification.

We are able to offer Promise Scholarships through the generous support of businesses and individuals. 

Students will never directly receive cash from the Harper College Promise Scholarship. Once other grants and scholarships have been applied and all eligibility requirements have been met, the Harper College Educational Foundation will send funds to cover the remaining cost of tuition.

No. Students must graduate in or before June (with their class) to be a Promise-eligible student.

No. In order to be eligible, students must be able to complete the FAFSA as well as qualify for in-district tuition. Other scholarships are available that do not require the FAFSA. Learn about additional scholarship opportunities at Harper College.