Little Village native Ruth Flores is still adjusting to her recent transfer from Richard J. Daley College to the University of Illinois Chicago. But, because she is a Star Plus Scholar, she’s able to focus more on her studies than on how she’s going to pay for school. 

Ruth received the Star Scholarship for two years during her time as a student at Daley, which allowed her to attend the college tuition free. She was extremely grateful for the award—without it, she says she wouldn’t have been able to go to college. But Ruth wanted to take her education a step further. So, when her time at Daley began winding down, she knew she needed to find a way to pay for her bachelor’s degree.

After completing her Associate of Arts in December 2021, Ruth learned the Star Plus Scholarship could help her attend a four-year university, so she applied. The Star Plus Scholarship awards Star Scholars a total of $5,000 over two years—$2,500 per year—toward their bachelor’s degree program at a four-year City Colleges of Chicago transfer partner.  

After submitting her application, Ruth waited anxiously. She started her first semester at UIC and checked her email daily for a response.  

Then, she found out the good news. She was in class when she read the email that shared she would be receiving the Star Plus Scholarship. 

“I didn’t want to cause attention, but in my head and in my feelings, I was so happy, and I was so grateful,” Ruth said.  

Receiving the award gave Ruth added motivation and confidence to keep studying and working hard. Only a few students were chosen for the scholarship, and to receive it, Ruth had to maintain at least a B average while at CCC. 

“That proves to me that I am a good student,” Ruth said. “And that I’m going on the right path and people recognize that.” 

Even without the Star Plus Scholarship, Ruth would have still enrolled at a four-year university, but it would have made her college experience more challenging. She says that she probably would have had to work two jobs while also trying to juggle her coursework. Because Ruth doesn’t qualify for FAFSA, she relies on alternatives like state funding and scholarships to help reduce her school payments.  

Reflecting on becoming a Star Plus Scholar makes Ruth emotional but also grateful and inspired. She is currently working toward her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Eventually, she wants to earn her master’s and work with children. 

“I really want to make an impact in my community and within my family,” she shared. “I want to live up to the standards and expectations I have for myself as well.” 

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