2019-2020 Gates Scholarship Resources

This page is intended to assist Chicago Public School students prepare to apply to the Gates Scholarship. The blue writing provides links to helpful websites that require your attention.  This site and the CPS Parent & Student Gates Information Sessions are sponsored by Chicago Public Schools and are not affiliated with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Please thoroughly review this page and its contents.

The Gates Scholarship will open July 15, 2019 for the class of 2020 with an application window of July 15th – September 5th, interview process and more! The Office of School Counseling and Postsecondary Advising (SCPA) invited eligible seniors with a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.3 (weighted) who met the eligibility requirements and their parent/adult chaperone to participate in the CPS Gates Student & Parent Information Session(s) that took place the last two weeks of school. Review the information below that was shared during the information sessions. Continue to check this page for updates throughout the process and school year.


The Gates Scholarship is a highly selective, full scholarship for exceptional, Pell-eligible, minority, high school seniors. Starting in 2018 through 2027, the scholarship will be awarded to 300 top student leaders each year with the intent of promoting their academic excellence through college graduation, and providing them the opportunity to reach their full potential.


Scholars will receive funding for the full cost of attendance* that is not already covered by other financial aid and the expected family contribution, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).


To apply, students must be:

  • A high school senior (class of 2020)
  • From at least one of the following ethnicities: African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native*, Asian & Pacific Islander American, and/or Hispanic American
  • Federal Pell Grant eligible (as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid also known as the FAFSA)
  • A US citizen, national or permanent resident
  • A minimum cumulative weighted GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale

Additionally, a student must plan to enroll full-time, in a four-year degree program, at a US accredited, not-for-profit, private or public college or university.


An ideal candidate will have:

  • An outstanding academic record in high school (in the top 10% of his/her graduating class)
  • Demonstrated leadership ability (e.g., as shown through participation in community service, extracurricular, or other activities)
  • Exceptional personal success skills (e.g., emotional maturity, motivation, perseverance, etc.)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Students should ensure they are academically eligible and meet all Gates eligibility requirements before completing/submitting the Qualifying Questionnaire that is the first phase of the application. This includes the following:

  • A high school senior (class of 2020)
  • From at least one of the following ethnicities: African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian & Pacific Islander American, and/or Hispanic American
  • Pell Grant eligible*
  • A US citizen, national or permanent resident
  • A minimum cumulative weighted Grade Point Average of 3.3
  • Additionally, a student must plan to enroll full-time, in a four-year degree program, at a US accredited, not-for-profit, private or public college or university.

*The Pell Grant is a federal grant for undergraduate (college) students with financial need. The need is identified through submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA.) Click here to visit the Student Aid.Gov site that provides more in depth information about this grant and the FAFSA. Families can click here to complete the FAFSA4caster that can provide an estimate or “forecast” of Pell Grant eligibility based on family tax information.

BEFORE You Apply:

Review these important sites and resources…

Review tips and resources below that were shared at the Information Sessions. Please ensure you are ELIGIBLE to apply for the Gates Scholarship prior to submitting your Qualifying Questionnaire (phase I of the application.) Additionally, writing workshops and interview support will be offered later in the school year (January- April.) Take advantage of those workshops when they become available.

Reminders & Tips:

  • The ONLY component of the application that is available to submit is the Phase I “Gates Qualifying Questionnaire.” Students who are selected for Phase II will be invited to complete essay questions.
  • The deadline to submit the “Gates Qualifying Questionnaire” is September 5, 201 at 11:59 pm PST (1:59 am CST) Reminder: Pacific Standard Time is two hours behind Chicago/Central Standard Time, please plan to submit EARLY!
  • Ensure a trusted adult reviews the “Gates Qualifying Questionnaire” prior to submission… EVERYTHING COUNTS!
  • This is our third year experiencing this application and process, we are sharing all that we are learning as a school district as we move through this year long application process.
  • Establish a student profile on The Gates Scholarship site prior to July 15th to ensure you receive correspondence directly from The Gates Scholarship team once the application is open for students. Click here to visit The Gates Scholarship page that allows students to complete a student profile.
  • Double check the spelling of your email account, information from the Gates Scholarship Team will be shared via email or their scholarship portal site only.
  • DO NOT apply for this scholarship if you DO NOT meet the eligibility requirements.

Gates Information Session Documents (REVIEW WITH PARENTS/ADULTS):

Please note, these documents are within a public folder that is being shared by the CPS Scholarship Manager. Please periodically check the folder/links for updates.  Click here to review the entire folder. All of these documents can be downloaded for your personal review and reference. 

The Gates Scholarship Presentation – Presented By: Michele Howard, Scholarship Manager – Chicago Public Schools and the Scholarship Essay Editing Support at DePaul University – Presented By: Chicago Public Schools College and Career Specialists in conjunction with the DePaul University Center for Access and Attainment (presentations are within the same document/power point. )

The Gates Scholarship Presentation in Spanish – Presented By: Chicago Public Schools College and Career Specialist Team.

The Gates Scholarship Fact Sheet 2019-20 – Provided by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (administrator of the Gates Scholarship through 2027.)  Click here for the Spanish Version.

Financial Aid Overview, Early Needs Analysis and Important Next Steps – Presented By: College and Career Specialist Team.

Finally, the Gates Scholarship is one of many scholarship opportunities promoted through Chicago Public Schools. Students, parents and community based organizations are encouraged to sign up for Scholarship Emails directly from the CPS Scholarship Manager to ensure opportunities come directly to YOUR INBOX! For more information, email CPS Scholarship Manager at CollegeScholarships@cps.edu.

For immediate questions or concerns regarding these materials, please email Chicago Public Schools Scholarship Manager, Michele Howard at CollegeScholarships@cps.edu. You can also review the Gates Scholarship website at www.TheGatesScholarship.org

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