Student Services

Odyssey Scholarship Benefits Overview

Thanks to the incredible generosity of an anonymous donor referred to as “Homer” and further gifts from thousands of alumni and friends of the University, the Odyssey Scholarship program works to dismantle obstacles to higher education by providing enhanced academic, social, and career support to talented, hardworking students from lower-income families or who are the first in their families to attend college. The University of Chicago values the strengths and diversity of Odyssey Scholars and works to ensure their success in their academic and professional journeys.

    In their financial aid packages, Odyssey Scholars receive University scholarship and grant funding, which does not need to be repaid.

    While Odyssey Scholars may have eligibility for Federal Student Loans, they are not expected to borrow funds through student loans as part of their financial aid package. All UChicago students who are eligible for Federal Student Loans may elect to take out a loan to fund personal expenses or other educational needs. Please contact Financial Aid for any questions concerning loans.

    Domestic UChicago students who receive financial aid packages, including Odyssey Scholars, must reapply for financial aid every year. Financial aid for international Odyssey Scholars is set only at the beginning of the Scholar’s first year.

    Scholars who are not covered under a plan (e.g. a parent’s health insurance plan) will need to purchase the University of Chicago insurance plan. For Odyssey Scholars, the cost of the University health insurance plan is paid by Odyssey Scholarship funds.

    For Scholars who decide to enroll in the University of Chicago insurance plan, a credit will be placed on the student account after the enrollment period is over. Students should not pay their UChicago insurance plan fee while they are waiting for the credit.

    Odyssey Scholars will receive funding for Study Abroad program and administrative fees, housing costs, meals, and starting in the 2020-21 academic year, a $1,200 stipend to assist with airfare expenses. Scholars are highly encouraged to take advantage of the wide range of study abroad offerings in the College.

    The University of Chicago is committed to providing students with an education that enhances their personal and professional development. To that end, Odyssey Scholars have the opportunity to receive funding for summer Metcalf internships or research opportunities. Funding starts at $5,000 for a full-time internship.

    First-year Odyssey Scholars take part in a series of workshops and meetings with specially trained Career Advancement advisers to qualify for summer funding. Scholars will meet with their adviser throughout the year to discuss academic and career interests to ensure that they are in a strong position to find an internship that fits their interests and goals. Odyssey Scholars also benefit from professional development events that will connect them with a highly diverse range of employers and prepare them to thrive during their summer internship. Visit the First-Year Odyssey Career Program website for more details.

    Second- through fourth-year Odyssey Scholars also have access to special funding for unpaid internships through the Jeff Metcalf Fellowship Grant for Odyssey Scholars. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Visit the Odyssey Career Resource Center for more details on this grant.

    Through programs and events offered by the Center for College Student Success and Career Advancement, students can access opportunities to meet other current Odyssey Scholars, as well as alumni who benefited from and support the Odyssey Scholarship program.

    Each incoming class is welcomed at the annual Odyssey Welcome Social during O-Week, and family members for incoming Scholars are invited to attend a reception during their Scholar’s move-in day.

    A great way to connect with other Odyssey Scholars through social media is to join the Odyssey Scholar Facebook group. To request to join, please use your UChicago email in your Facebook profile.

    Students interested in leadership opportunities in the Odyssey community may consider applying to join the Center for College Student Success Student Advisory Board (Contact: José Rodríguez) or the Alumni Relations and Development Odyssey Ambassadors Committee (Contact: Melanie Huml).

    Odyssey Scholars have many layers of support including their College Adviser, Career Adviser, Resident Assistant, and Resident Head. Scholars also have access to one-on-one appointments through the Center for College Student Success to discuss anything related to the scholarship or their experience on campus.

    Incoming Odyssey Scholars are invited to apply for the Chicago Academic Achievement Program and the Maroon Mentors Program.

    Students have access to free comprehensive services at Student Health and Counseling Services that focus on healthy living:

    • Health Promotion and Wellness programs include restful sleep strategies, mindfulness meditation, and wellness coaching.
    • Student Counseling Service provides confidential therapy (individual, couples, and group), case management, psychiatric services, crisis consultations, and outreach.
    • Student Health Service (SHS) services include confidential primary and routine check-ups, physical examinations, immunizations, flu vaccinations, laboratory testing, STD testing, and sports medicine.

    Services and programs at SHCS are tailored to students’ needs and lifestyles, incorporate cultural and diversity considerations, and aim to engage and empower students in the maintenance of their own health and well-being.

    In addition, free and accessible services are located throughout campus, including:

    • Let’s Talk provides informal and confidential consultations with therapists from SCS in accessible campus locations without needing to make an appointment.
    • Mindfulness Meditation includes instruction and practice of mindfulness meditation and other mind/body techniques to help reduce stress.
    • Weekly Single Session Drop-In Workshops are available to support you and help you thrive with additional coping skills, stress management, and connection.

    Odyssey Scholars have several options for acquiring books for their courses, including taking advantage of the College’s Book and Supply Charge program to charge books to their student account. They can also check out books from the Center for College Student Success Lending Library.

    The cost of books and supplies is built into every student’s financial aid package under personal expenses.

    The Office of Financial Aid and the Center for College Student Success offer financial literacy workshops for Odyssey Scholars to assist in learning the basics of budgeting a student income, managing personal expenses, and understanding student loans, credit cards, and taxes. Information on dates/times of these workshops will be sent via email.

    The Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid also offers web-based resources at

    Information about tax preparation and assistance can be found at

Odyssey Scholarship Program Contacts