City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley College is a two-year community college located in the heart of Chicago, Illinois. The college began as a junior college in 1960 with the establishment of a branch inside of Bogan High School on the southwest side of the city. During a brief transitional period, at which point the school was known as Southwest College, Mayor Richard J Daley set out plans for a more permanent, established institution.
The result, opened in 1981, was a full-fledged community college to serve the residents of Chicago. Southwest College was renamed in the mayor’s honor, and has grown into an important part of Chicago’s higher education system.
Accreditation is granted by the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities.
The college offers a fairly wide range of programs designed to ready students to enter the Chicago work force, as well as transfer to a four-year college or university to pursue a bachelor’s degree.
Successful students graduate with one of more than 50 available associate’s degrees. Examples include biological sciences, English and speech, the humanities, and mathematics.
Career programs provide students with instruction in business, nursing, and computer information systems, among other offerings. These courses are intended to give students an advantage as they continue down their chosen career path.
Certificate programs are also offered as short, one-year programs intended to train students for a specific occupation. These certificate programs include instruction in accounting, child development, criminal justice, manufacturing technology, and networking systems.
The Center for Distance Learning is the college’s online department, serving almost 10,000 students annually. Close to 100 different courses are conducted using sophisticated online learning technology.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Unique for a community college, Richard J Daley offers students the opportunity to study abroad in Salamanca, Spain and Salzburg, Austria. This is a great chance for students to experience a different culture while enjoying the rigors of an academic environment.
The college also offers English as a Second Language instruction, a valuable service in the local community, which has a large immigrant population. This course is offered free of charge.
The Adult Education department has a number of different classes available to local community residents free of charge, including Adult Basic Education/General Education Development, and a citizenship course designed to prepare immigrants for the USA Naturalization /Citizenship examination. This course is free as well.
Students in high school can take advantage of the college’s presence in their community by signing up for dual enrollment and attending classes at the college as well as their home institution, simultaneously. In some cases, tuition is paid by the high school district, so for students looking to earn college credit early, this can be a great option.
The Honors Program gives “highly able and exceptionally motivated” students the chance to benefit from smaller classes, increased opportunities for research, and interdisciplinary classes not offered to the general student body. Criteria for entering this program are separate from normal admission, and include recommendations from high school or college faculty, and an essay demonstrating potential for growth as a result of admission to the Honors Program.
The admissions office accepts students throughout the year on an open-enrollment basis. The college accepts students who meet the following qualifications:
- Degree from an accredited high school
- Completion of a GED (General Education Development) course
- Credits taken at another college or university
- Students 18 or older who don’t have a high school degree, but are determined by campus officials to be able to
- benefit from college courses.
- High school students recommended by their principal
Students who meet the requirements listed above are then tested in mathematics, English, and reading if course prerequisites demand such examination. This extensive testing can take up to two days.
There are three separate rates for in-district students, out of district students, and out of state students. The first is by far the most affordable, and eligibility is relatively easy to achieve. To qualify for this rate, students must have lived inside of the city of Chicago for at least 30 days prior to the start of classes, or show proof that they work in Chicago full-time.
The college assists students in filling out applications for federal and state aid.
A number of scholarships are available, including:
- The Illinois Education Foundation Scholarship, awarded to 25 “highly motivated students who have a goal in mind”.
- The DOMM Book Scholarship covers the cost of text books, up to $400 per year.
- The Marilyn Casey Scholarship Fund assists students pursuing a degree in nursing or another health related field.
- The Arturo Velaszquez Scholarship Fund offers eligible students an award of up to $1,000 per semester for use in paying tuition at the Institute that shares the same name.
- For students planning on transferring to a four-year institution, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholarship offers the opportunity of up to $30,000 per year for living expenses, tuition, and books upon enrollment towards a bachelor’s degree.
Student Financial Aid Details
The student body is composed of almost 4,500 students, along with an enrollment of more than 5,000 students in the Adult Education Program. The college does not offer dorms, and students commute to campus from all over Chicago.
For a two-year community college, students have access to a substantial wealth of resources on-campus, including a library holding more than 50,000 volumes, a gymnasium equipped with a pool, and a student activities center.
There are also a significant number of organizations and clubs available for students to enjoy. These include the African-American Cultural Club, Bible Study Club, Math Club, and the Website Development Club.
Greek organizations are limited to academic groups, including Phi Theta Kappa.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Athletic teams include a men’s basketball team, a women’s basketball team, and a coed soccer team. The college colors are blue and gold, and the school mascot is a bulldog.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.