Advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need

New Scholarship Unlocks Graduate Education for Cohort of High-Achieving Scholars

October 11, 2017 12:46 PM

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Awards Graduate Scholarships to 53 Cooke Scholars

October 11, 2017
Media Contact: Amber Styles


LANSDOWNE, Va. (October 11, 2017) -- The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, a leading scholarship and grantmaking organization, has awarded graduate scholarships of up to $200,000 each to 53 Cooke Scholars.

The lifetime earnings of a master’s degree holder, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, are $400,000 higher than an individual with only a bachelor’s degree. Still, graduate study remains precariously out of reach for many talented students, with the average annual tuition for graduate programs standing at $30,000 for public universities and $40,000 for private colleges and universities. Financial concerns are often noted as one of the most consistent reasons why students choose not to pursue graduate education.

To bridge the gap between high-achieving students and graduate education, the Cooke Foundation provides these scholarships, worth up to $50,000 a year for up to four years, only to previous recipients of Cooke Scholarships.

“Far too often price prevents even the most exceptional students from realizing their aspirations of graduate study. Cooke Graduate Scholars have overcome obstacles to reach the highest levels of achievement at some of our nation’s most selective colleges and universities,” said Cooke Foundation Executive Director Harold O. Levy. “With expanded opportunities for graduate study, they are certain to play important roles in numerous professional fields, improving the lives of many and benefiting our nation through their transformational talents.”

A number of the scholars also received Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer scholarships, which help high-achieving community college students with exceptional academic qualifications and life experience, transfer to four-year programs. Sean Moore, for example, was a first-generation college student at the County College of Morris in New Jersey and transferred to Yale with the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship in 2013. This fall, he will follow his passion for criminal justice reform and child advocacy to Lincoln College at the University of Oxford to study for a master’s degree in criminology and criminal justice.

Drawn from a competitive pool of candidates demonstrating outstanding academic performance, financial need, and leadership, the new cohort of Graduate Scholars are beginning their studies this fall in law, medicine, business, education, fine and performing arts, social work and other areas at prestigious universities in the United States and abroad. 

A full list of this year’s Cooke Graduate Scholars can be found here.


The Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the foundation has awarded $175 million in scholarships to more than 2,300 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive counseling and other support services. The foundation has also provided over $97 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.

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