The Foundation is excited to add Susie H. Turk and Patrick T. Murphy to our leadership.

A scholar alumna and dedicated volunteer, Susie (University of Notre Dame, ’98) was nominated to the Foundation’s board of directors where she will continue to help drive our mission. Susie, a principal solution engineer for Salesforce, was presented with the Foundation’s 2015 Most Valuable Alumna (MVA) award at this past Pullman Scholar Symposium where she also recruited Salesforce employees to review resumes and conduct mock interviews with scholars.


pullmanss16-349Patrick Murphy (Loyola University Chicago, ’09) joins the Pullman Foundation staff as the development and alumni relations director, after working six years as the associate director of communications for the Midwestern Augustinians.  You may remember Patrick was our keynote speaker at the 3rd annual Pullman Scholar Symposium and was an inaugural member of the Foundation’s associate’s board. We’re excited to have Patrick join the Foundation staff and honored to be in another part of his American Dream.

Pullman Foundation Celebrates 67th Annual Scholar Class by Making College Dreams a Reality; 2017 Application Opens Early November.

Nearly 40 million people in the U.S. hold about $1.4 trillion in student loan debt.[1] It’s estimated that college graduates from the Class of 2016 will each rack up an average of $37,000 in student loan debt, an increase of six percent from last year.[2] In an effort to alleviate college debt for bright, Chicago-area, college-bound high school seniors and keep them on the right track throughout their college journey, The George M. Pullman Educational Foundation announced the 30 new scholarship recipients to make up the 67th Class of Pullman Scholars.

Rooted in Chicago since 1950, the George M. Pullman Educational Foundation has invested more than $32 Million in Chicago’s driven yet under-resourced students who aspire to earn a college degree. The newest class of Pullman Scholars, who are now settled in on campuses across 16 different universities, will have cumulatively received nearly $1 Million in scholarships and educational supports during their pursuit of a four-year college degree.

Without the burden of immense debt, similar to the more than 14,000 Pullman Alumni that came before them, this year’s 30 Pullman Scholars are attending schools such as Chicago’s own DePaul University, Loyola University Chicago, and the University of Illinois as well Howard University, California State University, Long Beach and Duke University to name a few. Nearly half of this year’s class of outstanding individuals are first generation and the majority (63%) are young women. The 67th Class of emerging leaders are now able to pursue some of today’s most in-demand fields, including biochemistry, engineering, public policy, public health, pre-med and international relations, made possible by the four-year renewable scholarship up to $10,000 a year.

“The mammoth cost of a college education, and the heavy burden of debt, is definitely a hot topic in this heated election year. For many American families paying for college is a dream that is quickly growing beyond their reach,” says Robin Redmond, executive director of the Pullman Educational Foundation. “For each Pullman Scholar, we work to mitigate the financial burden throughout their time in school while ensuring they have access to the strength and expertise of our vast alumni network who can help guide them as they graduate and prepare for the future.”

The George M. Pullman Educational Foundation is ready to begin its search for 2017 scholarship candidates. Starting November 7 until February 3, Cook County seniors with a 3.0 GPA or higher, plans to attend an accredited college or university pursuing a bachelor’s degree and demonstrates financial need are encouraged to apply to become a Pullman Scholar.

If accepted, scholars can be eligible to receive up to $10,000 in renewable scholarship assistance for four years. Candidates interested in learning more about their eligibility and the application process should visit Applications are open from November 7, 2016 to February 3, 2017.Pullman Scholar Class of 2020

View the Class of 2020 Pullman Scholars here.

[1] Student Loan Hero
[2] Student Loan Hero

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an online form that college students fill out annually to identify their eligibility for federal aid. Some of this aid includes Pell Grants, MAP Grants (for students attending college in Illinois), federal student loans, and work-study opportunities. Plus, it helps colleges get a sense of what kind of institutional aid you may qualify for. As a Pullman Scholar, you are required to complete the FAFSA each year so the Foundation can determine your level of financial need. We encourage you to complete your FAFSA as early as possible to maximize your financial aid. There are some major changes for this year’s FAFSA cycle (2017-2018), and we want to make sure you are prepared!

What changes are happening?

Starting with the 2017-2018 FAFSA cycle (October 1, 2016-June 30, 2018), two permanent changes go into effect.

  1. You can (and should!) file the FAFSA beginning on October 1, 2016 (as opposed to January 1st).
  1. You are also required to use prior-prior tax and income information. For this year’s 2017-2018 cycle, you will report 2015 income and tax information.

If you’re scratching your head and wondering, “But, didn’t I use 2015 tax information when I filed the FAFSA last year?” Yes, you did. For this year, students will use the same tax and income information as they did on last year’s FAFSA. It’s important to note that even though you are using the same tax information as last year (2015), information from your taxes and other finance-related data will not be automatically transferred from the 2016-2017 FAFSA to the 2017-2018 FAFSA.

Here’s a helpful table provided by the Department of Education (information about this year’s FAFSA is bolded and in red):

When You Are Attending College (School Year)You will submit this FAFSAWhen You Can Submit the FAFSAWhich Year’s Income and Tax Information is Required
July 1, 2015 – June 30, 20162015-2016January 1, 2015 – June 30, 20162014
July 1, 2016 – June 30, 20172016-2017January 1, 2016 – June 30, 20172015
July 1, 2017 – June 30, 20182017-2018October 1, 2016 – June 30, 20182015
July 1, 2018 – June 30, 20192018-2019October 1, 2017 – June 30, 20192016


July 1, 2019 – June 30, 20202019-2020October 1, 2018 – June 30, 20202017


What does this change mean?

According to the Department of Education, the major goal is to streamline the financial aid application and receiving processes. They want to make it easier for the students and families who need the funds the most. It is important to note that just because the federal deadline has been modified, this does not mean colleges and universities will or have moved up their financial aid deadlines.

Generally speaking, these FAFSA changes have several implications which may affect students’ financial aid. The earlier filing date may cut down on tax extension requests at financial aid offices and make using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool easier (since taxes will already be filed). It could also constrain financial aid budgets since students and families may have more time to review financial aid awards and appeal these decisions. Some of these benefits are discussed more in the next section.

If you need help moving forward with your FAFSA, reach out to your college’s financial aid office or check out the resources at the end of this article for some direction.  Since this is the first year that the FAFSA is available in October, complications may arise from the shift. Be proactive about keeping up with deadlines and checking in with your college with questions. Please note: if you are required to complete a College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile at your college, check with your financial aid office to find out if this deadline has moved up too.

Tell me the benefits!

“Alignment, certainty and less pressure” are some descriptors the Department of Education is using to characterize the changes and benefits. It is expected that the financial aid application process will be more aligned with college and university timelines. Moreover, it provides a level of certainty for students and families since using prior-prior year tax information prevents you from having to estimate income information. Lastly, the added three months of time is anticipated to give students more time to explore and understand financial aid options, as well as apply for more aid before deadlines.

Some other benefits include no longer needing to go back in and updating your FAFSA with non-estimated income numbers (since you are using tax information that has already been filed). You should be able to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to automatically import tax information onto the FAFSA. This is particularly helpful because students will not have to find their tax records or worry about tax information being entered incorrectly.


Check out the resources below for more information about the 2017-2018 FAFSA.

Twitter: @FAFSA// #AskFAFSA Office Hours (interactive chat sessions scheduled monthly)

Website: Federal Student Aid and Free Application for Federal Student Aid

YouTube: FAFSA Overview video

College Students and Parents: What You Need to Know about the 2017-18 FAFSA Resource Sheet from Federal Student Aid – U.S. Department of Education

Financial Aid Toolkit Email Updates and Web Page

Your college’s financial aid office