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Walter Payton Foundation Honors
DCFS Foster Children
CHICAGO -The Department of Children and Family Services' Director, Jess McDonald, along with Connie Payton, today awarded 48 educational scholarships to graduating students in state care during a lunch at Johnny D's Restaurant in Schaumburg. The lunch was sponsored by The Walter Payton Foundation.

"We are very proud of each recipient," said Director McDonald. "Their hard work and dedication to educational success during a difficult time in their lives is proof that each scholarship recipient is ready for the independence and success that lies ahead."

The Department of Children and Family Services annually provides scholarships to youth who are currently under guardianship of the Department or who have left the Department's guardianship through adoption or private guardianship arrangements. The students are chosen based on scholastic aptitude, academic rank, citizenship, personal character and community involvement.

"Receiving the scholarship is just one of life's many successes for these 48 students," said Director McDonald. "I anticipate they will take the strengths and achievements they have realized thus far and apply them to life's challenges. Their continued use of successful strategies - the ability to plan, write, study and meet deadlines - will serve them well in achieving the goals they set. I congratulate all of them."

The scholarship recipients receive up to four consecutive years of tuition and academic fee waivers to be used at participating Illinois State Universities, a $445 monthly stipend and a medical card. In addition, several Illinois legislators have donated Legislative Scholarships to be awarded to DCFS wards residing in specific legislative districts.

The DCFS Scholarship Program began in 1964 with the awarding of four scholarships. It has now assisted more than 600 students with their college education. Students can obtain scholarship applications and additional information about the DCFS Scholarship Program through their caseworkers.

Scholarship recipients will receive a waiver of tuition and fees if they attend any of the following Illinois State Universities:

  • Chicago State University
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Governors State University
  • Western Illinois University
  • Illinois State University
  • Northeastern Illinois University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Southern Illinois University
  • University of Illinois

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