Illinois Tech and De La Salle Announce Guaranteed Admission Pathways and $1 Million in Scholarships

Landmark agreement between South Side neighbors gives high school students at De La Salle Institute access to college courses, several pathways to guaranteed admission, and $1 million in scholarships


Illinois Tech president Raj Echambadi and De La Salle President Anne Marie Tirpak sign a partnership surrounded by De La Salle students.

CHICAGO—February 29, 2024—Illinois Institute of Technology (Illinois Tech) and De La Salle Institute announced an agreement that guarantees De La Salle students access to college course credit and several pathways to admission at Illinois Tech, along with a $25,000-per-year scholarship totaling $100,000 per student for any De La Salle graduate who enrolls in Illinois Tech as a first-time student for a minimum of 10 students each year. This transformative agreement allows De La Salle students to take college-level courses at Illinois Tech, ranked #23 in the nation by the Wall Street Journal (2024), opening opportunities to critical and high-demand fields in technology and STEM and paving the way for futures in sectors known for their growth, lucrative salaries, and global impact.

Illinois Tech President Raj Echambadi and De La Salle President Anne Marie Tirpak last week held a ceremonial signing of the agreement at De La Salle Institute across the street from Illinois Tech’s Mies Campus with current De La Salle students who’ve taken courses at Illinois Tech as part of the longstanding connection between the two South Side education institutions, solidified by this week’s partnership.

“Rooted in our shared mission of advancing opportunity through education, our two institutions will collaborate to help empower the next generation of tech leaders from across Chicago,” said Illinois Tech President Raj Echambadi. “This partnership will offer access to high demand STEM pathways, building on Illinois Tech’s legacy as a national leader in student career outcomes.”

Guaranteed Admissions Pathways

The agreement introduces two STEM Pathways that guarantee admission to some of Illinois Tech’s most selective majors (e.g., engineering, computer science, artificial intelligence, applied cybersecurity, math, and hard sciences) for students who complete a sequence of rigorous math and science courses, take a certain number of honors or advancement placement (AP) courses, maintain an unweighted GPA of 3.6 or higher, and get A’s and B’s in their most recent two semesters at time of application.

The agreement also guarantees admission into Illinois Tech’s Discover+ undeclared major for students who maintain an unweighted GPA of 3.4 or higher, complete 12–13 credit hours of honors-level coursework, and have taken three years of science and four years of math, with precalculus taken in the 12th grade.

“We are thrilled to deepen our longstanding partnership with Illinois Tech, a neighbor and ally in education and innovation. This agreement is a testament to our shared commitment to opening doors of opportunity and excellence for our students,” said De La Salle Institute President Anne Marie Tirpak. “The chance to study at a world-class, highly-ranked university during high school, and the generous scholarships for those continuing as freshmen at Illinois Tech, is truly transformative. Together, we're setting our students on a path to success, grounded in our common mission to serve and uplift our community.”

College Credit in High-Demand STEM Fields

The agreement also creates two admissions pathways that allow students to take classes at Illinois Tech, earning college credit before they graduate high school. In the mathematics track, De La Salle students meeting minimum GPA requirements with a B or above in college-level algebra and calculus at Illinois Tech are guaranteed admission into a STEM program. In the business track, students earning GPA requirements and a B or above in Intro to Business, Financial Statements, Computing Tools for Business Analysis, and Accounting at Illinois Tech and will be guaranteed admission into Illinois Tech’s Stuart School of Business, where they can earn degrees in majors including unique cross-disciplinary programs such as Business and Information Technology, Economics and Business Analytics, Economics and Cybersecurity, and Economics and Data Science.

Two other dual enrollment tracks—computer science and engineering—do not guarantee admission but allow De La Salle students to earn college credit from two Illinois Tech programs ranked in the top 100 in the nation (U.S. News & World Report 2024) and to explore popular Illinois Tech majors and potential careers in in-demand industries. De La Salle students will have the opportunity to learn from Illinois Tech faculty in one of the oldest computer science departments in the Chicago area working on world-class industry-leading research. Illinois Tech computer science grads can be found working for employers such as SpaceX, Google, Goldman Sachs, Grainger, and Argonne National Laboratory. As part of the engineering track, future mechanical, materials, and aerospace engineers can explore the wide applications of cutting-edge engineering materials, including for solar cells, fuel cells, and batteries; high-speed internet signal transmission, smart sensors, computer chips, integrated circuits, and cell phones; structural materials for airplanes, automobiles, and sports equipment; and even biological materials for prosthetic bones and joints.

“We are excited to further our collaboration with Illinois Tech, building on our already strong partnership through cutting-edge programs and initiatives,” said De La Salle Principal Thomas Schergen ’97. “This agreement not only strengthens our bond, but also opens unparalleled opportunities for our students to engage with world-class university-level studies while still in high school. It’s a testament to our shared commitment to providing exceptional educational paths that lead to meaningful, in-demand careers in technology and engineering.”

Among those attending the agreement signing was Zuri Joplin, a De La Salle Institute sophomore who is part of the DevUp Scholars program, an interactive three-year program at Illinois Tech that exposes high school students from Chicago’s South Side to STEM and entrepreneurship, connects students with mentors, and prepares students to pursue STEM majors and careers.

“Being in DevUp allows me to learn about and gain insight into STEM related fields and careers,” said Joplin. “It’s interactive and fun to do, especially on the Illinois Tech campus.”

Guaranteed Scholarship for All De La Salle Illinois Tech Undergraduate Students

As part of this agreement, Illinois Tech announced a $25,000-a-year scholarship renewable for four years ($100,000)—five for architecture students ($125,000)—for any De La Salle graduate enrolling at Illinois Tech as a first-time college freshman for a minimum of 10 students per year, not just those who’ve gone through an admissions pathway.*

Illinois Tech and De La Salle are committed to fostering diversity and reflecting the rich heritage of Chicago. Drawing students from 232 grade schools from the city and surrounding suburbs, De La Salle’s student body is 43 percent African American and 34 percent Hispanic, representing a Chicago that is diverse racially, culturally, and socioeconomically. De La Salle has a record of high achievement; the graduating class of 2023 included 15 Illinois State Scholars, 95 percent of the class are attending college, and 24 percent of the class of 2023 are the first in their families to attend college.

“At Illinois Tech, we define ourselves by student success, helping students from all academic backgrounds thrive in their journey to academic and career success,” said Mallik Sundharam, Illinois Tech vice president for enrollment management and student affairs. “We’re proud that this focus on access has brought more than 30 percent first-generation and 35 percent of students who are Pell-eligible to our campus, consistently supporting our founding mission. We’re honored to share this mission with our neighbors by reducing time and cost to graduation and expanding our partnership to include pre-college, dual enrollment and STEM preparation, and we can’t wait to welcome De La Salle students as Illinois Tech freshmen.”

Photo: (From left) De La Salle students: Jocelyn Argueta, Pharren Sudds, Isabel Esterly, Taylor Schergen, Connor Parker, Genesis De La Garza, Dylan Redd, Dylan Ward, Dereon Pyles, Kristin Talley, Mario D. Perez, Gabrielle Wilson, Illinois Tech President Raj Echambadi, De La Salle Institute President Anne Marie Tirpak.

Note: Admission for students who go through the pathways is still contingent on a comprehensive review of their entire application by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Illinois Institute of Technology

Based in the global metropolis of Chicago, Illinois Tech was born to liberate the power of collective difference to advance technology and innovation for all. It is the only tech-focused university in the city, and it stands at the crossroads of exploration and invention, advancing the future of Chicago and the world. It offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, computing, architecture, business, design, science and human sciences, and law. Illinois Tech students are guaranteed access to hands-on experiences, personalized mentorship, and job readiness through the university's one-of-a-kind Elevate program. Its graduates lead the state and much of the nation in economic prosperity. Its faculty and alumni built the Chicago skyline. And every day in the city's living lab, Illinois Tech fuels breakthroughs that change lives. Visit

De La Salle Institute

De La Salle Institute is an independent Catholic secondary school rooted in the tradition of Christian Education begun by St. John Baptist de La Salle. De La Salle is located in the heart of Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. Drawing students from 232 grade schools–both urban and suburban–De La Salle’s population is diverse racially, culturally, religiously, and socio-economically. Founded in 1889, its mission has been, and is, to foster a desire for excellence in education. Young people from a variety of ethnic and economic backgrounds are given the opportunity to fully develop their abilities so they may be active, contributing members of our complex changing society. Visit

Media contacts

Petra Kelly
Communications Director
Illinois Institute of Technology
Cell: 773.771.1064

Kevin Dollear
Communications Manager
Illinois Institute of Technology
Cell: 773.860.5712

Carlene Klaas
Vice President of Enrollment Management
De La Salle Institute

Rich Barnotes
Director of Sports Information and Marketing
De La Salle Institute