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FAQs

College Scholarship Program Selection and Notification Process Questions

Questions & Answers

How many College Scholars will the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation select?

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation will choose up to 40 College Scholars from across the country.

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What are the selection criteria?

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation reviews each application individually with assistance from a panel of education experts. Among the criteria used in the selection process are:

  • Exceptional academic ability and achievement: Strong academic record, academic awards and honors, and substantive assessments by educators providing confidential recommendations. We consider:
    • unweighted cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above
    • college entrance exam scores (SAT and/or ACT) in the top 15% nationally: SAT combined critical reading and math score of 1200 or above (using the old SAT scoring) or ACT composite score of 26 or above
    • participation in available advanced courses
    • commitment to learning
    • intellectual curiosity
  • Unmet financial need: Limited family income and assets in light of educational expenses. Substantial unmet educational costs after taking into account other scholarships and grants students may receive. We will consider applicants with family income up to $95,000. However, we anticipate that a majority of scholarship recipients will be eligible to receive a Pell grant.
  • Persistence: Determination and perseverance in the face of challenges, ability to set and remain focused on goals and to put in the effort needed to meet those goals in the face of obstacles.
  • Leadership: Ability to organize and positively influence others in school and out-of-school areas (family, religious community, sports, arts, etc.).
  • Service to Others: Purposeful and meaningful commitment to others which may be evidenced by participation in volunteer/community service activities.

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College Scholarship Program How to Apply & the Application Process Questions

Questions & Answers

What does the application process involve?

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program application requirements will include:

  • Demographic information about you and your family.
  • Academic information about you, including your cumulative unweighted GPA, course grades, and standardized test scores.
  • Self-assessment and multiple choice questions.
  • School Profile to be completed by your principal or guidance counselor.
  • Two teacher Recommendations to be completed by core subject teachers.
  • Financial information including the last three years’ Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for your household.
  • Short and long essays.
  • Official transcripts, College Entrance Exam score reports and other transcript forms, dual enrollment, online courses, etc. (if applicable).
  • Financial Form, including a copy of parent(s)/guardian(s) Federal Tax Return for the last three years. If for any reason Federal Tax forms were not filed, an explanation must be submitted to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation regarding financial circumstances in addition to completing the Financial Form.

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Are there any costs or fees associated with applying to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program?

No.

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How many recommendations will be required?

We ask you to submit two teacher recommendations.
 

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Who should I select to complete my recommendations?

Two academic recommendations are required, one from an 11th grade teacher in a core academic subject (English/language arts, mathematics, social studies/history, science, or foreign language), and one from another teacher or professor who has worked with you in two of the last four years. Both of the  recommenders should be well-acquainted with your performance and character, and should be able to discuss your academic progress through the class curriculum, challenges you faced, how you overcame them, and your overall academic engagement.

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What if my parent(s)/guardian(s) or I do not file federal taxes?

If you or your parents do not file federal taxes, we require you to provide estimated financial information in the Financial Form. You must also include an explanation regarding your family’s financial circumstances.

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Which forms do my parent(s)/guardian(s) need to complete?

The parent/guardian form is an online form to be completed by the biological or adoptive parents of the applicant. If the parent(s)/guardian(s) live in the same household, they will complete one Parent/Guardian Form together.  If the applicant has only one parent/guardian (the second parent/guardian is deceased, missing or unknown), your parent/guardian will complete one Parent/Guardian Form.  If the parents/guardians live in two separate households, they will each complete a separate Parent/Guardian Form.  Parents/guardians will provide information on employment and education, household members, and financial information including the last three year’s federal tax return forms.

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Must I provide an official transcript?

Yes, you must provide an official high school transcript. We understand that once you open your official high school transcript to upload it onto your application it is no longer considered “official”. An unsealed official transcript will be acceptable for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program application.

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Why does the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation want my unweighted GPA?

Providing the selection committee with a calculated unweighted GPA in the form of a 4.0 scale assures that your academic data is being considered correctly, and compared consistently with others. Many schools have their own grading systems and processes, so re-calculating assists in clearly considering your academic record.

To calculate your unweighted GPA, you may utilize a number of online resources/tools such as:

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What if I have more questions regarding the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program and the application process?

All questions should be directed to our Application Help Desk. You can email or call 800-941-3300. Please allow up to two business days for a reply. The Help Desk is staffed Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m to 5:00 p.m. EST.

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Are test scores required for the scholarship application?

Yes. The ACT and/or SAT are required in order to apply for the College Scholarship Program.  You must take the test and receive the following minimum scores to be eligible to apply:

SAT combined critical reading and math score of 1200 or above (old SAT*)

OR

ACT composite score of 26 or above.

All College Scholarship Program applicants are required to have taken the SAT and/or ACT test and have score report(s) available by the application deadline to be uploaded to the application.  The application deadline is November 30, 2016 at 12 p.m. (noon) ET.

*If you took the new SAT, you can convert your scores using the conversion tool: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/scores/understanding-scores/sat-score-converter

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College Scholarship Program What Scholarship Covers Questions

Questions & Answers

Will the scholarship pay for a bachelor's/master's program?

The scholarship will cover the undergraduate portion of dual degree programs. The graduate portion – generally the 5th year – is not funded through the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program.

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Will the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program pay for me to attend an online accredited four-year college or university?

No, accredited online four-year programs are not covered by Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program funds.

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As a College Scholar, would I be allowed to receive other grants or scholarships and still qualify for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program?

With few restrictions, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation will permit you to receive other awards. In fact, all Scholars must apply for financial aid from their four-year institutions each year.  Most receive other forms of aid in addition to the scholarship funds.

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Will I be liable for taxes on the scholarship?

A portion of each scholarship award may be considered taxable by the US Internal Revenue Service. Scholarship recipients are responsible for ascertaining tax liability for the scholarship, and for reporting the taxable portions of their scholarship as income. See publications 520 and 970 on the IRS website for details.

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How much support does the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program provide?

The amount of the award varies by student, based on the cost of attendance as well as the amount of other scholarships or grants a recipient will receive. The maximum amount of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s scholarship is $40,000 per year. In some extenuating circumstances, the Foundation may exceed the maximum cap if significant unmet financial need has been determined. Each award may fund all or a portion of educational costs, including tuition, room and board, books, and other required fees for the period required to complete your bachelor’s degree program (lasting no more than four years).

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If I am awarded the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship, will I automatically receive funding to complete my undergraduate degree?

No. The scholarship is renewable each year. At the end of each academic year, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation will review your grades, financial eligibility, conduct, progress toward degree, and cooperation with the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and determine, at the Foundation’s sole discretion, whether to renew the scholarship for the next academic year. The Foundation may also, at its sole discretion, revoke a scholarship during the academic year based on a similar review.

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Will the scholarship pay for more than four years of college to earn my bachelor's degree?

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship is intended to provide four years of funding for recipients. Exceptions to this would only be considered on a case-by-case basis.

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Does the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program support study in non-degree programs?

No. Only students who will pursue baccalaureate degree programs at accredited colleges or universities are eligible for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program.

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As a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship recipient, what benefits would I receive besides the scholarship funding?

In addition to your award, as a Jack Kent Cooke College Scholar you will have access to college planning support and personal advising throughout your college tenure, as well as the opportunity to connect with a network of highly-talented Jack Kent Cooke Scholars and alumni through events, a mentoring program, and social media.

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If I am selected as a Jack Kent Cooke College Scholar, what would be expected of me?

During the summer before your freshman year in college, College Scholars are required to participate in a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation-sponsored Scholars Weekend in the Washington, DC area. In addition, the Foundation expects College Scholars to communicate and work closely with their designated Foundation educational adviser. Lastly, the Foundation also expects College Scholars to:

  • Maintain a strong academic record (cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better) while taking an appropriately challenging course load
  • Act with honesty and personal integrity
  • Demonstrate character and leadership
  • Be concerned about and engaged in their community
  • Maintain a good disciplinary record
  • Work cooperatively with Foundation staff

These responsibilities are outlined in a Scholar Agreement, which each selected scholar is required to sign.

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When will the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation notify me of my award amount?

Over the summer you will receive an award letter usually within four weeks of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation receiving your Cost of Attendance from your four-year institution.

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How will I receive my scholarship?

Scholarship amounts are sent directly to your school. If a stipend is included as a portion of your scholarship, the school will release the funds to you.

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College Scholarship Program - Eligibility Questions

Questions & Answers

Am I eligible to apply to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program?

To be eligible to apply to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program you must:

  • Graduate from a US high school in spring 2017
  • Intend to enroll full time in an accredited four-year college beginning in fall 2017
  • Earn a cumulative unweighted GPA of 3.5 or above
  • Receive standardized test scores in the top 15%: SAT combined critical reading and math score of 1200 or above (using the old SAT scoring) or ACT composite score of 26 or above
  • Demonstrate unmet financial need. We will consider applicants with family income up to $95,000. However, we anticipate that a majority of scholarship recipients will be eligible to receive a Pell grant

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If I am homeschooled, am I eligible to apply?

Yes. Your application will be most competitive if you are participating in a program in which your parent(s)/guardian(s) are annually required to submit to the state:

  • Notification to that you are being homeschooled
  • Your state standardized test scores
  • And/or a professional evaluation of your performance and progress

Applicants living in states that do not require the above are still eligible to apply; please be prepared to provide documentation to validate your homeschool progress should you make it to the final stages of selection. Staff will contact you if further documentation is needed.

While you will not need to submit the School Profile as part of your application, you will be required to submit grades and a transcript detailing your homeschool curriculum. You will also need to supply two teacher recommendations, preferably from individuals other than your parent(s)/guardian(s).

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If I have a diagnosed learning difference, am I eligible to apply?

Yes, if you meet or exceed the other selection criteria, you are eligible to apply.

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If I haven't taken the ACT or SAT yet, am I eligible to apply?

The ACT and/or SAT are required in order to apply for the College Scholarship Program.  You must take the test and receive scores in the top 15%: SAT combined critical reading and math score of 1200 or above (using the old SAT scoring*) or ACT composite score of 26 or above.

All College Scholarship Program applicants are required to have taken the SAT and/or ACT test and have score report(s) available by the application deadline to be uploaded to the application.

*If you took the new SAT, you can convert your scores using the conversion tool: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/scores/understanding-scores/sat-score-converter

 

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If I received a GED diploma, am I eligible to apply?

No. If you received a GED diploma, you are not eligible to apply to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program.

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Must I be a US citizen to apply?

No. You must, however, reside in the United States or a US territory and attend high school in the United States. At this time, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is not providing services to students who attend high school outside of the United States.

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Do I have to attend college in the US?

No, you do not have to attend college in the US, but you must attend a fully accredited four-year institution to pursue a baccalaureate degree.

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Are there restrictions on fields of study for College Scholarship recipients?

No. You can pursue a baccalaureate degree in the field of study of your choice. Non-degree programs are not eligible.

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How does the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation determine unmet financial need?

Although, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation considers academic excellence first in evaluating candidates, competitive applicants must also show unmet financial need, which has two components:

  1. Education costs that are appreciably greater than the total amount of other scholarships or grant awards.
  2. Insufficient student and family income to meet educational costs.

Please be aware that:

  • Students receiving full funding for their four-year degree will not be competitive for this scholarship, as they have no unmet financial need.
  • Non-US citizens may be eligible for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s scholarships if they demonstrate unmet financial need, regardless of their eligibility for other types of federal and institutional financial aid.

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Why did I receive an invitation from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to apply for the College Scholarship Program when I am not eligible to apply based on my family’s income?

We receive names and addresses of students who scored highly on the PSAT, SAT, or ACT from the College Board and ACT. Thus, many students receive our mailing because they did exceptionally well on their standardized tests and checked a box on their test form indicating that they would like to receive information about scholarship opportunities. The College Board and ACT do not release information regarding students' family income. As a result, some of the students who receive our mailing do not qualify financially for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program.

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Am I still eligible to apply if the parent with whom I do not live is unwilling to complete the Parent(s)/Guardian(s) Form?

Yes, but you must provide, as part of your application, a detailed explanation of the situation and copies of relevant official documents.

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Does applying Early Action or Early Decision to a college affect my eligibility to apply for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program?

No.

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Am I eligible if I am already enrolled in a bachelor's degree program?

No. You must not be enrolled in a bachelor’s program at the time of application. You must be planning to enroll full time in an accredited four-year institution for fall 2015.

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If I am already enrolled in a bachelor's degree program, am I eligible to apply?

No. You must not be enrolled in a bachelor’s program at the time of application. You must be planning to enroll full time in an accredited four-year institution for fall 2016.

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If I am not eligible for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation College Scholarship Program, what other scholarships can I apply for?

You can see a list of other programs and opportunities on our Additional Resources page.

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Apply Now

 

Watch the College Scholarship Informational Webinar for an overview of this program.