Juan Gomez has faced many obstacles since moving to the United States from Mexico at age four. Because of the cost of college tuition, he wasn’t sure if he could continue his education after high school, despite being a class valedictorian at CICS – Larry Hawkins. Then he learned he qualified for the Star Scholarship, which would cover all of his tuition and books while at City Colleges of Chicago.

“I honestly wasn’t sure what I was going to do until I got a call telling me I got the scholarship,” Gomez said. “If it wasn’t for the Star Scholarship, I probably would have just worked for a while until I saved up enough money to eventually attend college.”

Instead of waiting, Gomez was able to attend Olive-Harvey College directly after high school and graduated with an Associate in Arts Degree in the spring of 2017. He was able to finish with an impressive GPA, despite taking 17 credits per semester and working part-time.

He is now on pace to graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern Illinois University, thanks to a combination of funding from the Star Transfer Scholarship and the Dream.US Scholarship.

“I want to work in human resource management,” Gomez said. “Then I definitely want to become an entrepreneur and open my own business.”

Time management has been a key to Gomez’s success, which now includes a 90-minute commute to the Northeastern campus. He recognizes the importance of obtaining a bachelor’s degree despite his many obligations.

“There are priorities in everyone’s life and I understand that everyone has to make money,” Gomez said “But once you get through school, you are going to see that it’s worth the investment.”

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