Frequently Asked Questions

Who may apply for admission to Chicago Jesuit Academy?

Chicago Jesuit Academy serves students with a wide range of skills and abilities.  Some of our students were earning good grades at their previous schools, but they were not being adequately challenged or prepared for the rigors of college prep high schools.  Other CJA students were not finding academic success in their previous schools, which lacked the structure or the individualized care that these students needed to succeed.

To be considered for admission to Chicago Jesuit Academy, a student must have successfully completed the prior grade. Students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch are given preference in our admissions process, but all are encouraged to apply.  Strong candidates have the support of a family member who shares the student’s desire to succeed.  Transfer candidates should contact CJA at (773) 638-6103 or for information about the transfer application process.

Why is Chicago Jesuit Academy a co-institutional school?

We have found that our students are more successful during the middle and elementary school years when they learn in a single-sex environment. As part of our co-institutional model, students will be separated by sex for all academic classes. Non-academic time such as Chapel, lunch or extra-curriculars may include all students.

When CJA was founded in 2005, we based the school on a model of Nativity schools throughout the country, all of which were single-sex schools. Based on input from families in our community we chose to serve young men because the perception was that they were at greater risk. Over the years, however, families have consistently shared with us that one of the biggest obstacles to enrollment is that their daughters cannot attend CJA along with their sons.

In the Spring of 2022, we broke ground on a 50,000 square foot building expansion that will enable us to serve young women in addition to young men. In the Summer of 2022, we enrolled our first cohort of 3rd and 4th grade girls. We will add a 5th grade classroom in the 2023-2024 school year and then continue to add one grade per year until, in the 2026-2027 school year, we will be serving young women in grades 3 through 8 in addition to young men in these same grades.

What is a typical day like at CJA?

The school day officially starts at 7:30 AM, but students begin arriving at 7:15 AM each day. After they check in with a faculty member in our atrium, they head to the cafeteria where they join grade-level tables for quiet study or reading. At 7:30 AM a pre-plated, healthy breakfast is served.

The regular class day begins at 8:00 AM and includes typical academic subjects as well as tailored learning time and extra-curriculars. 5th through 8th grade students are dismissed at 4:30 PM. 3rd and 4th grade students have the option to dismiss at 3:30 PM or stay until 4:30 to participate in extra-curriculars. All students are served a healthy lunch and afternoon snack in addition to breakfast.

Can a student with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan attend Chicago Jesuit Academy?

Yes! We work with different learning styles (auditory, visual, spatial, etc.), students that have 504 or Individualized Education Plans (IEP) and students that might need extra support. We also work with students and families to obtain Individualized Education Plans to ensure they have a plan in place for the support they need when they graduate CJA.

What does it mean that Chicago Jesuit Academy is a Jesuit faith-based school?

We do not teach religious studies at CJA, but our approach is informed by Jesuit values. We are a faith-based school which gathers weekly for chapel and believe all of our students are created in the image and likeness of God. Most of our students come from Christian faith backgrounds, but there is no religious requirement.

A core aspect of Jesuit education is caring for each student as a whole person – physically, mentally, and spiritually – using the “Graduate at Graduation” values as our guide. We encourage and teach each student, alumni and faculty member to embody these values — being open to growth, seeking intellectual excellence, religious, loving and committed to doing justice — daily in their work and lives.

For more information about the Jesuits and their commitment to living a faith that does justice in the service of others, please visit

What does it cost to send a child to Chicago Jesuit Academy?

Families do not pay tuition or any school fees for their child to attend Chicago Jesuit Academy.  Each student receives a full scholarship which covers all costs.  As a full-scholarship school, Chicago Jesuit Academy succeeds because of the disciplined and generous sacrifices made by our students, parents, faculty, staff, volunteers and benefactors.

What is the general profile of a student who transfers to Chicago Jesuit Academy?

Chicago Jesuit Academy seeks to partner with families who want their child to attend an excellent, faith-based college prep school but lack the resources to pay for such an opportunity without a scholarship.  CJA is not academically selective for students applying for 3rd – 5th grade. For 6th through 8th grade transfer applicants, academic performance and commitment to partnering with the school are taken into account. Since CJA’s founding in 2005, we have enrolled students who tested in the 1st through the 99th percentiles on their standardized basic skills tests in the fourth grade at their prior schools. We seek to enroll students who are motivated to take advantage of the opportunities available to them at CJA.

82% of Chicago Jesuit Academy’s students identify themselves as Black, 13% identify themselves as Hispanic and 5% identify as biracial. 12% identify themselves as Catholic, 36% as Baptist and 22% as other Christian. 70% of our students qualify for the National School Lunch Program’s free or reduced-price meals

Do students transfer to CJA from Chicago Public Schools or Catholic schools?

Almost all of our students transfer to CJA from Chicago Public Schools.  Chicago Jesuit Academy was designed to be an additional Catholic educational resource for students who could not otherwise access a high-quality, faith-based education.  We strive to work in careful partnership with the Archdiocese of Chicago and long-standing Catholic elementary schools like St. Malachy, St. Catherine/St. Lucy and St. Angela in order to increase access to excellent, faith-based education to students who could not otherwise afford it.

How is Chicago Jesuit Academy funded?

Chicago Jesuit Academy relies entirely on the generosity of benefactors in order to cover our operating costs.  The majority of our funding comes from individuals and family foundations who believe that the children we serve should have access to an outstanding faith-based college prep lower and middle school.

What neighborhoods do most of your students come from?

Approximately 56 percent of our students come from Austin, Garfield Park and Lawndale — three of the neighborhoods on Chicago’s West Side that are closest to our campus.

We enroll students from many other neighborhoods as well including Cicero, Berwyn, Maywood and the South Side.

Catholic schools around the city are closing and relocating to the suburbs.  How is Chicago Jesuit Academy able to remain open?

We have been very fortunate that generous people who have had the benefit of a quality, faith-based education want to help make that same education accessible to children who come from modest economic backgrounds.  Our donors want to make certain that the opportunities they had at places like St. Ignatius College Prep, Loyola Academy, Fenwick, and Resurrection will be available to students we serve regardless of economic status. We are grateful to these benefactors who continue to make Chicago Jesuit Academy a reality.