College Support



For information on CHA’s college funding support visit our CHA Scholarship and Partners in Education pages.

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CHA Residents (ages 14-20) can receive one-on-one coaching from an Education Program Specialist to support post-high school plans or to assist in continued post-secondary enrollment through S.O.A.R (Students + Opportunities+ Achievements = Results)

Think of an Education Program Specialist as an extra coach for future success that can help to:

  • FIND THE RIGHT COLLEGE OR PROGRAM – identify schools and programs that are a good match and fit
  • COMPLETE APPLICATIONS – including college admissions, program and scholarship applications
  • SAVE MONEY – help to complete the FAFSA, maximize financial aid & find scholarships
  • PERSIST TO GRADUATION – help through common college ‘road blocks,’ identify internships and summer employment opportunities, build a network for future success 

This opportunity is specifically for CHA Public Housing Residents. Services through CHA’s S.O.A.R program are entirely free and participation is voluntary. If you have any questions about the program, please call (312) 786-3409 or email

Complete the SOAR Consent Form and reach out to your Education Program Specialist below!

See how CHA’s SOAR program offers one-on-one coaching from our Education Program Specialists to support post-high school plans and assist in continued post-secondary enrollment. Think of it as an extra coach for future success!



Serving Public Housing Youth Ages 14-20 

Grant Vitale works closely with the CHA's service coordinators to serve SOAR youth and families.  He is committed and dedicated to supporting Chicago youth, especially youth who are first-generation college students and low-income.  As an Education Program Specialist with the CHA, he is thrilled and excited to work with SOAR youth and families to support them in achieving their academic and career goals.  Grant earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication and a Minor in Marketing from Old Dominion University. 


Emily Damsen has experience in college access from her former role, where she worked for a non-profit supporting students applying to college in a Chicago Public High School. She is excited to continue similar work with young Chicago Housing Authority residents to help them achieve their post-high school goals and realize their full potential. Emily earned a Bachelor of Science in Education Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also double majored in Communication Arts and earned a Certificate in Entrepreneurship.