With Harvard's Help, Good Grades Pay Off in Chicago

System rewards as much as $50 for A's—and half depends on graduation
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2008 1:55 PM CDT
A program funded by Harvard and private donations promises students in Chicago public schools cash in exchange for A's, B's and C's, with half coming if they graduate.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Chicago public high schools are paying students for good grades under a program funded partly by Harvard University, the Tribune reports. Freshmen get $50 for A’s, $35 for B’s and $20 for C’s, with half their earnings held until they graduate. Some 20 other Chicago-area schools, encompassing about 1,650 students, are participating in the program, which also relies on private donations.

Students are understandably enthusiastic about the program, and it seems to be working: 86% of students at the top-achieving school took home some money during the last grading interval. Teachers say they’ve seen kids work harder for grades: “Getting a check is a really personal motivation. Students know if they work harder their personal checks will be bigger,” said one. (Read more grades stories.)