Chicago Arrupe College
Arrupe’s impact in Chicago’s high schools
By Maura Sullivan Hill
When Arrupe College launched at Loyola University Chicago in 2015, Jacob Caplan, a college counselor at Eric Solorio Academy High School on Chicago’s Southwest Side, thought it was too good to be true. Arrupe promised students the opportunity to earn a two-year associate’s degree with little or no debt, and a lot of academic and personal support. “I knew it was a good idea,” said Caplan. “And our relationship began by taking a leap of faith with them.”
In the years since, Arrupe has delivered on their promise. Seventy-five percent of the first graduating class has successfully made the transition to four-year colleges and universities, and enrollment is on the rise each year, with 300 students from the city of Chicago and surrounding area currently in the program.
As Arrupe has made higher education more affordable and accessible for Chicago students, it has shifted the way counselors like Caplan approach the college application process. At Solorio, Caplan has altered his entire advising strategy based on Arrupe’s success. Today, he encourages every junior at Solorio to add Arrupe to their college search list.
“During their junior year seminar class, students figure out what they want to do after high school, and how to get themselves there. And in that class, we’re suggesting that all of our students do some research on Arrupe, because we’ve had so much success with it,” Caplan said.
That success has been two-fold, thanks to both the academic and financial support that Arrupe offers. Of the nearly 1,000 students at Solorio, about five to 10 attend Arrupe each year. They have sent 23 students since 2015, and seven have graduated from Arrupe and moved on to four-year institutions.
When Caplan encounters a student who wants to go to college but is not sure what to study, he immediately points them towards Arrupe. He sees these types of students thriving in Arrupe’s supportive academic and advising model, as compared to a community college.