Getting Ready to Go!

Free Resources

This is a roundup of free resources available to Chicago graduated seniors.

“I don’t care how much money you have, free stuff is always a good thing.”

-Queen Latifah, actress and musician

  • Comp-U-Dopt’s programs serve to increase equitable access to computers, facilitate growth in technical and digital literacy skills and support the future of youth in our communities.  Comp-U-Dopt has set up a reconditioned computer drive-thru (where you can adopt a computer at no cost) for community members who do not own a computer at home. To qualify, you must not own a working computer at home, and you must have a child in K-20 education (meaning kindergarten through college) in the Chicago or Northern Illinois area. 
  • Visit the Comp-U-Dopt website to learn more about their lottery system HERE.
  • Or go directly to complete their lottery form for CPS graduates here.
  • Not a Guarantee But You Can Improve Your Chances: Remember that filling out the form does not guarantee you a computer! It enters you into a randomized lottery for over 1000 reconditioned computers that will be distributed until their supply has been exhausted so the earlier you apply, the higher your chances. Time is of the essence for this opportunity.
  • Be prepared: You will be asked for information including: your address, your household income, the number of people in your household, whether or not you already own a computer and if you have to share it with others, what high school you graduated from (this is important because some high schools have a greater distribution of laptops due to specific grant funding), your graduation year, your post-graduation plans, your intended college or employer.
  • It is very important to include your cell phone number. If you are chosen at random, communication regarding picking up your reconditioned computer will come through Comp-U-Dopt via text messaging services.

CPS Grad Lottery (General CPS Graduate)

  • Chicago Connected  is a groundbreaking program that provides no-cost, high-speed internet service to CPS students and their families. This first-of-its-kind program will be one of the largest efforts by any city to provide internet access for students.
  • Families with students enrolled in CPS are eligible to sign up for free high-speed internet through July 1, 2024.
  • Check your eligibility here.  You will need to use your CPS Student ID as your activation code. This can be found on your report cards, progress reports, parent portal, student ID card or simply call your school for assistance.
  • If you are a CPS senior that has not applied for this program, do so today before you graduate so that you can continue to use this free resource while transitioning into your post-graduation plan!

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is an FCC program to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms, and so much more.

About the Emergency Broadband Benefit

The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

Who Is Eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program?

A household is eligible if a member of the household meets one of the criteria below:

  • Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Lifeline;
  • Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

How to Apply

There are three ways for eligible households to apply:

  1. Contact your preferred participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process.
  2. Go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to apply online and to find participating providers near you.
  3. Call 833-511-0311 for a mail-in application, and return it along with copies of documents showing proof of eligibility to:

Emergency Broadband Support Center
P.O. Box 7081
London, KY 40742

After receiving an eligibility determination, households can contact their preferred service provider to select an Emergency Broadband Benefit eligible service plan.

  • Did you know over $11 billion in SNAP and Food Stamp funding goes unclaimed every year, including over 2 million college students who could qualify for food assistance?
  • mRelief can help you find out if you qualify. in just a few minutes and support you through an efficient application process within one to two weeks without ever having to wait in line in a government office for hours and hours.
  • You can also text “Food” to 74544 to verify your eligibility by phone.
  • Personal Statement is an Emmy nominated feature-length documentary in which three high school seniors struggle to get themselves and their peers to college.
  • #WeBelongInCollege is a social media campaign that grew out of the PERSONAL STATEMENT impact campaign and encourages students to share their stories of struggle & triumph so that all students know that #WeBelongInCollege. Watch a few of their videos below!
  • Create your own video for a chance to win the #WeBelongInCollege Scholarship.   Get Schooled is hosting a 3-month-long scholarship campaign called #WeBelongInCollege. This campaign aims to support students in sharing a time that they didn’t believe they belonged in college and how they’ve been working through that. By sharing their stories, they can help other students feel like they aren’t alone and that many people struggle getting to – and through – college. This community of students reinforces that although all students struggle, they should still pursue the things that are important to them.  Students have a chance to win $1,000 and $2,500 scholarships, with more than a dozen prizes available.  Application Closes October 31, 2021 at 11:59 pm PT

Eboni’s Story About Considering College During the Pandemic

Olivia’s Story About All the Sacrifices Seniors Had to Make Due to COVID

Jose’s Story About Feeling Unprepared for College

Enoch’s Story About Financial Aid Challenges

Daniela’s Story About College Application Challenges and Advice

Ana Ama’s Story About Feeling Scared and Not Worthy of Going to College, Dealing With Rejection

Thalia’s Story About Being a First Generation Student

Victoria’s Story About Dealing w/Racism During Her College Preparation Process

Darius’ Story About Dealing w/Racism During College in Oklahoma

  • View other students’ powerful #WeBelongInCollege stories HERE
  • If you are interested in watching the full Personal Statement documentary, please fill out this form and request a free streaming link!

There are many different mutual aid groups that have cropped up all over the city serving specific neighborhoods as well as general requests from those in need. Here are a few around the city.

  • Hyde Park Covid-19 Resource Outreach (60615, 60637, 60649)
    • Resource Request Form
    • All requests will be open for collection for 2 weeks or until 100% of funds are received.
    • Anyone living in Hyde Park and the surrounding communities is able to request assistance. (Priority will be given to those in 60637, 60615, and 60649, but all requests will be considered if funds allow).
  • Greater Chicago Food Depository
  • Brave Space Alliance
  • Rogers Park Community Response Team
    • This group is fiercely committed to making sure no one in Rogers Park feels like they are going it alone.
    • If you live in Rogers Park, there’s a hotline for requesting aid and assistance:773-831-7668
    • email: rpcrt49@gmail.com

Still confused?

Text us 24-7 at

312-681-7767

Help your friends. Share on:

Preparation Toolkit

Figure out transportation, logistics, money so that you can be ready for your first day on campus.

Find A Staff Member

We understand the need to talk to a real person. Our staff covers both high school and college campuses.

Staff Directory

Build your Network

We understand the need to talk to a real person. Our staff covers both high school and college campuses.

Find Your People