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Guiding Principles

High-achieving, low-income students need support to ensure that they thrive in school and beyond.  Based on more than a decade of experience, we understand what such students need in order to realize their academic potential. 

Research shows:

  • There is a profound and widening excellence gap through elementary and secondary school.
  • High-achieving, low-income students are less likely to pursue rigorous coursework or to score highly on achievement tests.
  • High-achieving, low-income students are less likely to apply to or enroll in highly competitive colleges and less likely to complete college than their low achieving, high-income peers.
  • High-achieving, low-income students often exist in isolation.

As a result, high-achieving, low-income students need:

  • to be academically challenged and inspired during school, after school, and in the summers. 
  • information about how to successfully navigate transitions to high school and college and prepare for, identify, and apply to competitive colleges.
  • financial resources that enable them to develop their academic and artistic talents.
  • a peer community that challenges, supports, and inspires them.

Therefore, we

  • challenge and inspire by
    • ensuring that our Scholars have access to rigorous curricula in high school and college and engage in meaningful, high- quality educational experiences.
    • ensuring, through grants, that high-achieving, low-income students throughout the country have access to meaningful, high-quality educational experiences.
  • provide information by
    • counseling and guiding our Scholars about how to apply for, select, pay for, and navigate a college that is the best fit.
    • supporting organizations and institutions through grants that advise students about how to apply for, select, and pay for a college that is the best fit.
  • provide financial resources by
    • providing among the most generous scholarships in the nation for students in high school, college, and graduate school.
    • providing grants to organizations so that high-achieving, low-income students can participate in high-quality summer and arts programming.
  • provide a peer community by
    • connecting our Scholars to one another through in-person events, mentoring opportunities, and online communities.

Guiding Principles

To download a PDF of our guiding principles, click here.

Grant Programs

Through strategically targeted grants, the Cooke Foundation works to expand educational opportunities for thousands of remarkable students whose families, schools, and communities need additional resources to help these students fulfill their promise. Read more.

Scholarship Programs

The Cooke Foundation’s scholarship programs are designed to encourage and support outstanding students who work hard and have financial need. Our scholarships provide financial assistance and academic support to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students. Read more.