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Report for America is a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues and communities.

Rockford University Unveils New Scholarship For Black Students

Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco
Former Rockford Mayor Charles Box announces new scholarships at Rockford University


Rockford University announced a new scholarship this week aimed at Black students interested in pursuing business.


Between Rockford University and the Puri Foundation, twelve Black students per year will be able to pursue a business degree and graduate with zero debt. That’s thanks to a new scholarship, named after Rockford’s first Black mayor, Charles Box.


He says the new program is exactly what the community needs. "When you walk out the door at the conclusion, you've been debt free, you'll have an MBA, you'll have the background and the stature," the stature of Rockford University, a good sound business education."


In a statement to the press, the Puri Foundation said that given the tremendous inequity in our country, "It is especially important to provide opportunities for Black students to build generational wealth through a business education."


To apply, students have to be residents of the greater Rockford area, submit a FAFSA application, and two letters of recommendation. Students can begin applying now.

  • Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco is a 2020 corps member for Report for Americaan initiative of the GroundTruth Project which is a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms.
Juanpablo covers environmental, substandard housing and police-community relations. He’s been a bilingual facilitator at the StoryCorps office in Chicago. As a civic reporting fellow at City Bureau, a non-profit news organization that focuses on Chicago’s South Side, Ramirez-Franco produced print and audio stories about the Pilsen neighborhood. Before that, he was a production intern at the Third Coast International Audio Festival and the rural America editorial intern at In These Times magazine. Ramirez-Franco grew up in northern Illinois. He is a graduate of Knox College.