Originally planning to attend a four-year university directly after graduating from North Grand High School in Humboldt Park, Howar Ruiz Navarrete changed his mind when he learned he qualified for the Star Scholarship, which pays for both tuition and books – letting students earn their degree for free.

As the child of immigrants, Howar worked full-time while attending classes full-time in order to help support his family. There were many times he thought he would have to drop out of classes in order to continue working, but he persevered – he knew that the hard work and stress would eventually pay off. And in the end, it was worth it – he has been accepted to National Louis University and earned the U.S. Dream Scholarship, which will pay all of his tuition as he earns a bachelor’s degree in business management.

Howar doesn’t regret starting his post-secondary education at a community college. In fact, he says he felt like he was at a four-year university from the beginning thanks to the amazing faculty and staff including his advisor, Brian Hall. He was able to earn his associate degree without having to take out loans or go into debt, and got an education that has prepared him to go on to earn his bachelor’s.

His advice to high school students is “to learn about the great benefits that come from studying at City Colleges. More students should take advantage of the Star Scholarship, and there are so many great programs at Malcolm X for students that have a passion for the medical field.”

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