Advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Awards $10 Million to Replicate Successful College Advising Program Nationwide




LANSDOWNE, VA - The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation today awards ten $1 million grants to initiatives in nine states aimed at significantly increasing college enrollment and graduation among low-income high school and community college students.

The grant recipients are Brown University, Franklin & Marshall College, Loyola College in Maryland, Pennsylvania State University, Tufts University in collaboration with the Massachusetts Campus Compact, the University of Alabama, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Missouri-Columbia, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Utah. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in partnership with the National College Access Network, will also house the National College Advising Corps Coordinating Office to support the development of the programs and encourage other universities to start similar programs.

Following in the tradition of the AmeriCorps and Teach for America programs, the College Advising Corps initiative will recruit and train college seniors to work full time as advisers for one or two years following graduation. The ten programs will provide support for high school students in lower-income neighborhoods to help them apply to a wide range of postsecondary institutions that fit their individual academic profiles, career goals, and personal circumstances. The program is based on a successful model created by the University of Virginia (UVA) and funded by a lead grant from the Foundation. The National College Advising Corps Office will be directed by Dr. Nicole Hurd, who crafted the original UVA program.

The goal is to combat staggering rates of college-qualified, low-income high school graduates who fail to earn bachelor's degrees by providing college admission and financial aid guidance to disadvantaged students. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that four million potential college degree recipients - all academically prepared, lower-income students - have been "lost" during the past two decades. And as the Foundation's own research reveals, among these students are many of America's top-performing, lower-income students.

"We are squandering a huge national resource when millions of America's best high school graduates never get to college, or fail to advance beyond a two-year community college program," said Foundation Executive Director Matthew J. Quinn. "Our Foundation is committed to addressing the college enrollment gap by providing crucial information to promising students facing financial barriers."

Lack of information about admissions and financial aid is a significant barrier to college for low-income students -- who are much less likely than their counterparts in wealthy communities to have access to SAT preparation, college application guidance, and information about financial aid. On average there is only one high school counselor for every 488 American public high school students.

The groundbreaking UVA "College Guide" program places recent college graduates in communities where college-going rates are below the state average, to help students plan for and complete the college application process. At one participating Virginia school, the rate of senior class members admitted to postsecondary education rose by more than 20 percent in one year. The program was recently expanded to include counseling for community college students interested in transferring to four-year institutions. Recent Cooke Foundation-funded research also underscores the importance of personal transfer counseling for low-income students who attend community college and the need to increase transfer advising on community college campuses.

"This innovative approach has succeeded in Virginia with notable increases in applications to colleges in the high schools where the guides work," said Josh Wyner, the Foundation's vice president of programs. "Now low-income students nationwide will get access to much-needed guidance from mentors fresh out of college who can really inspire them."

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private, independent foundation established in 2000 by the estate of Jack Kent Cooke to help young people of exceptional promise reach their full potential through education. It focuses in particular on students with financial need. The Foundation's programs include scholarships to undergraduate, graduate and high school students, and grants to organizations that serve high-achieving students with financial need.

Summaries of the work of the ten university-based initiatives, the program at the University of Virginia and the national office are below. Each grant recipient has fundraising and other support in place to continue the program beyond the four-year grant period.

National College Advising Corps Office (Chapel Hill, NC)
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the National College Access Network will partner to house the national coordinating office. The office will support the network of university-based programs as well as encourage other universities to start programs. Dr. Nicole Hurd, founder of the College Guide Program, will direct the office.  Learn more
Contact: Nicole Hurd - (434) 227-6586 /

Brown University (Providence, RI)

Brown University will expand existing college-access programs at the University's Swearer Center for Public Service by adding full-time college advisers to its current corps of volunteer part-time college advisers. The program will provide one-on-one college-advising services to 1,200 to 1,750 high-school students over four years in 13 Rhode Island high schools. 
Contact: Deborah Baum - (401) 863-2478 /

Franklin & Marshall College (Lancaster, PA)

Franklin & Marshall College will develop a college access network with Dickinson College, Millersville University, and Shippensburg University. The network will provide one-on-one college-advising services to 2,400 high-school students over four years in 11 high schools in rural central Pennsylvania.

Contact: Marcy Dubroff - (717) 291-3837 /

Loyola College in Maryland (Baltimore, MD)

Loyola College will implement a college-advising program in high schools throughout Maryland with low college-going rates and large numbers of low-income students. The program will provide one-on-one advising to a total of 7,400 students over four years. 
Contact: Mark Kelly - (410) 617-5025 /


Pennsylvania State University (statewide campuses)

Pennsylvania State University will create a pre-college advising program, placing college advisers in underserved high schools in Philadelphia and rural western areas of the state. The program will increase college enrollment through a combination of individualized assistance to targeted students and group workshops and broad services in participating schools. The program will provide one-on-one college-advising services to 3,100 students over four years and reach a total of 15,500 students.

Contact: Lora Stocker - (814) 863-4512 /

Tufts University/Massachusetts Campus Compact (Medford/Somerville, MA)

Tufts University's Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service and the Massachusetts Campus Compact will develop a college-advising program to increase college enrollment rates of high-achieving, low-income high-school students. The program will provide one-on-one advising to 2,250 students over four years, serving an additional 6,010 in group settings.

Contact: Kim Thurler - (617) 627-3175 /

University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)

The University of Alabama will develop a community college advising program to help low-income students transfer to four-year institutions. The program will be housed in the University's Education Policy Center. The program will provide one-on-one college-advising services to 8,640 community college students over four years at eight of the state's community colleges.

Contact: D. Lane - (205) 394-9805 /

University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)

The University of California, Berkeley's Center for Educational Partnerships will expand its Destination: College Advising Corps for low and middle-income students into up to twenty high schools in underserved areas of northern, central, and southern California. Services will include new, full-time advisers who will provide individualized academic planning, counseling, SAT preparation, and assistance with college applications, personal statements and financial aid applications. The program will provide one-on-one college-advising services to between 9,600 and 11,200 students and group services for at least 90,000 students over four years in three counties not previously served (Solano, Tulare, and San Bernadino).

Contact: Marsha Jaeger - (510) 642-8368 /

The University of Missouri-Columbia (Columbia, MO)

The University of Missouri-Columbia will create a college access program to increase the percentage of seniors who apply for and attend college and to provide parents/guardians of academically promising underserved students with the information they need to encourage and support their student's application to college. The program will provide one-on-one college-advising services to 2,700 students in eight high schools and three community colleges and provide information and counseling in group settings to an additional 9,150 students.

Contact: Katherine Kostiuk - (573) 882-6211 /

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC)
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will create a college advising program, placing college advisers in 18 low-income high schools across the state. The advisers in the Carolina College Advising Corps will work directly with students in 11th and 12th grades as well as with younger high-school and middle-school students. The program will provide one-on-one college-advising services to 5,580 students over four years and provide an additional 5,500 students with information about college-going through outreach and community events. In addition, the University, in partnership with the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and the National College Advising Network, will create the National College Advising Corps Coordinating Office to support the development of the grants and encourage other universities to start similar programs. 
Contact: Lisa Katz - (919) 962-2093 /

University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT)

The University of Utah will develop college-advising programs at 14 low-income high schools around the state. Advisers will provide one-on-one counseling and distribute information to all students about test preparation, admission, and financial aid. The program will provide one-on-one college-advising services to 4,400 high-school students over four years.

Contact: Coralie Alder - (801) 581-5180 /

University of Virginia (Charlottesville, VA)

The University of Virginia, where the College Advising Corps was started three years ago, currently has 22 advisers in high schools and two community colleges in the commonwealth of Virginia. The UVA program, which is being used as a model for the national expansion, has exhibited tremendous success in increasing college-going rates among high school graduates. One district in Southwest Virginia increased its college-going rates from around 50 percent to about 85 percent. In addition, some school districts have seen a marked rise in the number of students taking the SAT exams and filling out federal financial aid forms.
Contact: Mark Caldwell - (434) 924-6058 /






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