“This Program Is Letting Me Go to College”: New MXC-UIC Partnership Provides Pathway for Immigrant Mom of Three to Earn Her Nursing Degree


When Sevinj Kazimli opened an email that said she’d been accepted into the new dual-admissions nursing pathway between Malcolm X College and the University of Illinois at Chicago, she was thrilled.

“UIC is one of the best options,” she said.

The mom of three had been working towards that moment for over three years, since she first started her college journey in free English as a Second Language (ESL) courses at City Colleges of Chicago. In fact, for Sevinj, it was those classes that inspired her to pursue a college degree after moving to the U.S. from the country of Azerbaijan in 2018.

A Gateway to College

Sevinj Kazimli

Utilizing City Colleges’ Gateway Program, Sevinj was able to transition into college credit courses after completing her ESL courses, receiving a reduced tuition rate through the program. She then started her pre-requisite nursing courses at Malcolm X College, City Colleges’ Center of Excellence for Healthcare Education.

Now, with her acceptance into the new dual-admissions pathway between MXC and UIC, she’ll be able to seamlessly transition from her associate degree to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from one of the nation’s top online programs.

Sevinj knows her journey is far from over, but she says she’s ready, thanks to the support she’s received from both MXC and her family.

The Family That Studies Together, Stays Together 

It’s not just emotional support that she’s been receiving—it’s academic support, too. Right now, all five members of the Kazimli family are currently in school, with Sevinj’s husband pursuing his law degree at Chicago-Kent, her two sons studying pre-med and pre-law at the University of Miami, and her daughter enrolled at Jones College Prep as a freshman. Sevinj says that studying with her kids, especially her pre-med son, provides additional support alongside the tutoring she’s received from MXC.

Sevinj and her son Yunus

This isn’t the first time she’s been able to study with her kids, either. When her younger son, Yunus, was in high school at Horizon Science Academy–McKinley Park, they were enrolled in the same political science course at MXC. Sevinj was enrolled in the class to complete a general education requirement, and Yunus was earning college credit for free through dual enrollment courses, a part of City Colleges’ Early College program.

“Those dual enrollment classes prepared me for my bachelor’s degree journey,” Yunus said.

His older brother took advantage of the Early College program too, transferring nearly an entire semester’s worth of credits to UMiami.

A Future She Can Afford

The opportunity to take low or no-cost classes at City Colleges has eased the family of five’s financial burden, and Sevinj looks forward to being locked into CCC’s affordable tuition rate as she purses her BSN from UIC.

“This program is letting me go to college,” she said. “For me and my sons, our experience here at City Colleges has really been the best.”