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University Center of Lake County Receives Over 13.9 Million Dollars

News Release January 12, 2024

The University Center of Lake County is awarded over 13.9 Million Dollars to Support Lake County Families!

GRAYSLAKE, ILLINOIS- On November 28, 2023, The U.S. Department of Education awarded University Center of Lake County a total of $13.9M for the creation of “El Centro”, a collaborative program immersed in five different Lake County Schools. The Full-Service Community Schools (FSCS) grant will provide $2.7M per year for five years. The University Center partnered with Diamond Lake School District 76 and North Chicago School District 187 and became the only awardee for a multi-local educational agency in Illinois.

The Full-Service Community Schools program is built on four key pillars: expanded learning time and opportunity, active family and community engagement, collaborative leadership and practice, and integrated student supports. A Community School is organized to remove barriers to learning, improve students, families and communities’ quality of life and outcomes by overseeing programming developed for each school. The focus will be on providing high-quality, relevant, and engaging programs addressing barriers to students’ engagement and learning, El Centro will provide a wide array of innovative services to students, parents/families, teachers, administrators, and community members to create and sustain a vibrant hub of community engagement in teaching and learning.

North Chicago District 187 will receive two site coordinators responsible for working with families at Evelyn Alexander Elementary and Forrestal Elementary. Diamond Lake School District 76 will receive three site coordinators at Diamond Lake Elementary, West Oak Intermediate, and West Oak Middle School. Additional support is provided by two District Pipeline Service Coordinators, and the entire program led by the Project Director. In total, University Center will need to hire eight more staff to support the program under this grant.

Much gratitude is shared with the University Center of Lake County Development Council members, all volunteers, who worked tirelessly to collect key data, worked collaboratively with the school districts, and wrote the grant proposal. The Executive Director and Dean, Dr. Myra Gaytan-Morales shares that,Lake County has great resources but unfortunately many of our families, who need these services the most, are unaware of what is out there. This grant will allow us to bring all the resources and support services into the schools so our students and families can thrive. We are very excited and look forward to working closely with our community partners, schools’ districts, and university member institutions so together we can positively impact the lives of our students and community.” Planning is underway and excited about the many opportunities that 2024 will bring our families and communities.

ABOUT UNIVERSITY CENTER OF LAKE COUNTY The University Center of Lake County is a nonprofit organization who supports the work of thirteen universities from across Illinois. The University Center student body consists of both traditional age students and adult learners who are commonly local residents. Our Lake County community can take advantage of bachelor completion programs, graduate programs inclusive of graduate certificates, teacher endorsements/certificates, full master’s degrees, as well as doctoral programs.

Bachelor completion programs allow students the opportunity to either transfer or continue their journey towards completing a college degree locally without the added expense of having to move away to college. Oftentimes, students can seamlessly transfer in from community colleges or from other universities to finish their bachelor's degree once they have completed a minimum of sixty credit hours at an accredited institution.

Graduate and Doctorate programs offer professional development opportunities to the current workforce whether seeking to upskill, change careers, or for the enjoyment of learning something new.

To learn more information about our programs, visit us at or schedule an appointment with our Advisor and Recruitment Specialist, Dr. Mytzy Rodriguez-Kufner, at, or call 847-665-4000.

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