OMD is a student success program for City College of Chicago (CCC) students. But we’re more than just a scholarship program—we’re a community that empowers you to become the best you can be in school, work, and life.
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The OMD Support Model

When you become an OMD Scholar, you gain access to four types of support: Academic support, financial support, professional development, and personal coaching. 

Academic Support
  • Accountability calls with your dedicated OMD Program Coordinator (PC)
  • Guidance to help you navigate campus resources
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  • Stipends to help with books, transportation, or other college costs
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  • Student development sessions (SDS) on topics like time management and self-care
  • Resume building LinkedIn training, and mock-interviews
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  • One-on-one and group mentoring from OMD staff and coaches
  • A community committed to growth, success, and empowerment


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Are you eligible?

Scroll to see if you meet our eligibility requirements.

Please note: There are different steps to becoming an OMD Scholar depending on which City Colleges of Chicago (CCC) campus you attend. When you begin the application process, you’ll learn specific steps based on your CCC campus. 


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You can do this!

One Million Degrees provides the tools you need to be the best student and leader you can be.

OMD Scholars gain access to resources like:

Free tutoring

Financial supports via stipends and grants

Monthly skills-building workshops

Personal success coaches

Consistent check-ins with your dedicated OMD Program Coodinator




Double check you meet OMD’s
eligibility requirements.


Sign up for email updates from OMD.


Watch your inboxes, including your CCC student email and CCC portal, for more information and next steps.




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Apply today!

The One Million Degrees Scholar application is  open!

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Not eligible for Fall 2024?

Join our email list below to be notified about our future opportunities.



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Let's answer your questions!

If you’re interested in becoming an OMD scholar, we want to make the process as easy as possible. Check out our frequently asked questions below


If you still have questions, fill out our Scholar Interest Form and our staff can help.

What does OMD do for me?

OMD is a student success program for City College of Chicago (CCC) students. When you become an OMD Scholar, you gain access to: 

Academic Support :

  • Personalized one-on-one tutoring and academic planning  
  • Accountability calls with your dedicated OMD Program Coordinator (PC) 


Financial Support:

  • Stipends to help with books, transportation, or other college costs 
  • Financial literacy training and counselling to help plan your future 


Professional Development:

  • Monthly seminars on topics like time management and self-care 
  • Resume building LinkedIn training, and mock-interviews  


Personal Coaching :

  • One-on-one and group mentoring from OMD staff and coaches  
  • A community committed to growth, success, and empowerment 

The process to become an OMD scholar depends on whether you’ve met our eligibility requirements and on which City College of Chicago (CCC) campus you attend.


If you attend Olive-Harvey or Malcolm X Colleges and meet OMD eligibility requirements, you are considered opted in to OMD scholar supports and should have received communications about accessing our program. If you have not received that information, Please CALL TO ACTION TBD.


If you attend Harold Washington, Kennedy King, Richard J. Daley, Truman, or Wilbur Wright Colleges and meet OMD eligibility requirements, you’ll need to fill out an application. Accepted students must then move through our provisional acceptance process while the limited open spots at the campus they will be attending are available. Spots in our program are open on a first to register full time, complete our onboarding steps, ensure they have resolved any financial aid/CHA/or STAR requirements.   

Undocumented students are eligible to apply to OMD if they are STAR Scholarship eligible and eventually are awarded the scholarship. 

While we have partnerships with other organizations outside of CCC, you cannot directly access the OMD program if you’re not enrolled in one of CCC’s colleges: Harold Washington College, Richard J. Daley College, Kennedy-King College, Malcolm X College, Truman College, Olive Harvey College, Wilbur Wright College. 

That’s totally fine! We ask that if your plans change at any point in your OMD application process and you are no longer attending community college in the fall, that you inform us as soon as possible so we may invite another awesome candidate to fill your spot. 

Only students who qualify for in-district tuition at one of our partner colleges are eligible to apply for the program. 

OMD only accepts recent high school graduates, current community college students and returning adults.  Keep us in mind for your senior year! We accept a new cohort of scholars every year. You can also join our student pipeline and we will contact you your senior year to find out if you are interested in joining OMD. Click here and join our future scholar pipeline. 

Students who graduated from a Chicago Public School with a 3.0 GPA and who test completion-ready in Math and English on CCC placement test are eligible to apply to be STAR scholars. STAR scholars are able to pursue an associate degree at City Colleges of Chicago at no cost – receiving free tuition and books. The STAR Scholarship also has options for helping to pay for up to $50,000 per year towards a bachelor’s degree after completing an associate degree.

One Million Degrees is a “last dollar scholarship” meaning we pick up the cost between what your financial aid package covers and the real cost of attending community college. We do not provide full-tuition scholarships to any scholar. 


If you are a current community college student and already receiving Financial Aid, this means you are most likely Pell eligible.

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You may be allowed to transfer into another campus’s OMD program, depending on the location and/or availability. Please talk to your Program Coordinator (PC) about your options.  

Still have a question?

If you’d like to talk to someone on staff, please contact us.


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“You know, everybody may have a different story, but we are all on the same path. We all have a goal.”


David Scherer

David Scherer

One Million Degrees Co-founder 

David is principal of Origin, co-chairs the Investment Committee, and oversees investment analysis, acquisition and asset management. He has more than 20 years of experience in real estate investing, finance, and asset management. In 2006, he co-founded One Million Degrees, which has raised $20 million to help low-income community college students graduate and successfully enter the workforce. David has served as the organization’s Board Chair for the past 12 years, as the organization has grown from 30 to 1,000 students served per year. He also serves as the President of the Harvard Club of Chicago and is on the Advisory Board of Invest for Kids.  

Rose Lizarraga

Rose Lizarraga

OMD CO-Founder & President & CEO, Lysa LLC

An award-winning documentary filmmaker and freelance writer, Rose’s career also includes 10 years spent developing new product and brand strategies as well as marketing and advertising campaigns at Leo Burnett, Foote, Cone & Belding, M&M/Mars and other small businesses.  More recently, she worked as a writer/editor for Modern Luxury Inc., publishers of magazines such as CS and Angeleno.  Rose graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with dual degrees in English and Political Science.  She is a founding member of the Daniel M. Kerrane, Jr. Foundation, former Board Vice President of the Fairy Godmother Foundation, and currently serves on the Chicago committee for Human Rights Watch.

Michael B Golden

Michael B. Golden

One Million Degrees Co-Founder 

A former national award-winning broadcast journalist, Michael Golden has also served as a political campaign manager and communications strategist for U.S. Presidential, Senate and Congressional races. Michael is a fellow at the British-American Project and the Open Society Institute. In 1999, Michael’s investigative and public affairs reporting for NBC earned him honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, the AP, and the Edward R. Murrow Awards. In 2011, Michael co-founded Newsbound, Inc., a media and software company based in San Francisco, CA. He is also a co-founder of the Complete the Degree back-to-college initiative in Chicago, Illinois. Michael serves on the board of the ADL and on the governing board of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, as well as the Illinois Commission to Eliminate Poverty. He received his B.A. from Indiana University, and his M.S. in Public Services Management from DePaul University.