FAQs

Application Process and Deadlines

How do I know if my application is complete?

The online application system will not allow you to submit an incomplete application. The documents you upload to the application will be verified by the Cooke Foundation before the application is considered complete. If an uploaded supplemental document is not approved, the Cooke Foundation will contact you in order to allow you to submit the correct document.

How do I submit my supporting documents and when are they due?

All documents are required to be uploaded into your online application according to the directions in the application. If you do not follow the instructions, your application may not be considered. The online application, including all required supporting documents, must be submitted by the application deadline.

When will the recommender know that it is time to submit the recommendation?

Recommenders will receive an email with instructions after you enter his/her email address into your application and save the page.

The email message will provide a link to the online form. It is your responsibility to monitor the status of your application and to follow up with your recommenders to be sure they have received the instructions and completed their online forms.

How does the recommender submit a recommendation?

When your recommender has completed the form and is ready to submit, they will click the “Submit” button and a message will appear requesting confirmation that the form is ready to submit. When they clicks “Yes”, a confirmation screen will appear to verify the form has been submitted. The recommender will also receive an email confirmation.

How long does the recommender have to submit their recommendation form?

The recommenders have until the application deadline to submit the recommendation form. We encourage applicants to monitor the status of their application and communicate with their recommenders to make sure they successfully submit the form on time.

Can my recommender submit a letter of recommendation instead of or in addition to completing the online form?

No, the only acceptable recommendation for this application is the online form. Letters of recommendation will not be accepted in lieu of or in addition to the online form.

What happens if an application is incomplete or is submitted after the deadline?

Applications are completed online and must meet the deadlines established by the Cooke Foundation. Incomplete applications and those submitted to the Cooke Foundation after the deadline will not be considered.

I missed the deadline. Can I still apply?

Applications will not be accepted after the deadline.

Do I have to finish my application all at once, or can I save it and come back later?

You will be able to work on your application until the deadline. You will be able to return to the application to update and edit as frequently as desired until you submit your application or the application deadline has passed.

I forgot my User ID or password.

On the Log In/Register page, click the “Forgot your password?” link. To reset your password, enter the email address associated with your account and click the “Submit” button. You will receive an email with a link to reset your password.

If you need additional help, email us or call 800-941-3300.

How do I change my password or Username?

If you would like to reset your Password, go to the Log In/Register page, click the “Log in/Password Help” link, and follow the online instructions.

I am locked out of my account. What do I do now?

After five failed attempts to log in, you will receive an onscreen message that your account has been locked. You will also receive an email with instructions on how to either unlock your account or change your password.

How do I properly log out?

Always click the “Save” button, found at the bottom of every page of the application, before you log out. When you are ready to log out and exit your account, use the “Sign Out” link in the upper right corner. You will be able to return to the application to update and edit as frequently as desired until you submit your application or the application deadline has passed.

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.

How many recommendations will be required?

We require two academic recommendations. The recommendation forms are online forms to be completed by each teacher.

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.

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.

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.

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 Cooke College Scholarship Program application.

Why does the 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:

  • Petersons: http://www.petersons.com/college-search/college-admission-requirements-gpa.aspx
  • eHow: http://www.ehow.com/how_6367239_convert-school-percentage-grades-gpa.html
  • GPA calculator: http://www.back2college.com/gpa.htm

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. All College Scholarship Program applicants are required to have taken the SAT and/or ACT test and have score report(s) available to submit with your application by the application deadline (November 14, 2017 at 12 p.m. EST). Due to this, we recommend taking the SAT by October 7, 2017 and/or the ACT by October 28, 2017.

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

OR

ACT composite score of 26 or above.

If you took the old SAT (prior to March 2016), you can convert your scores using the conversion tool: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/scores/understanding-scores/sat-score-converter

Eligibility

Am I eligible to apply to the Cooke 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 2018
  • Intend to enroll full time in an accredited four-year college beginning in fall 2018
  • 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 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

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).

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.

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 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 SAT prior to March 2016, you can convert your scores using the conversion tool: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/scores/understanding-scores/sat-score-converter

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 Cooke College Scholarship Program.

Must I be a U.S. citizen to apply?

No. You must, however, reside in the United States or a U.S. 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.

Do I have to attend college in the U.S.?

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

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

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

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:

  • Education costs that are appreciably greater than the total amount of other scholarships or grant awards.
  • 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-U.S. 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.

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 Cooke College Scholarship Program.

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.

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 2018.

General

Who was Jack Kent Cooke?

Mr. Cooke was a philanthropist, businessman, and devotee of learning and the arts who left the bulk of his estate to establish the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to help students of exceptional promise reach their full potential through education.

Who do I contact with questions regarding the scholarship 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.

Selection Process

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 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.

How many Cooke College Scholarship recipients will the foundation select?

In April 2018, 106 scholars were selected for the Cooke College Scholarship Program. The number of scholars each year varies.

What the Scholarship Covers

Does the scholarship support study in non-degree programs?

No. Only students who will pursue baccalaureate degree programs at accredited colleges or universities are eligible for the scholarship.

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.

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 Cooke College Scholarship Program.

Will the Cooke 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 Cooke College Scholarship Program funds.

As a Cooke Scholar, would I be allowed to receive other grants or scholarships and still qualify for the 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.

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: http://www.irs.gov/

How much support does the Cooke 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).

If I am awarded the Cooke 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 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

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

The Cooke 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.

As a Cooke Scholar, what benefits would I receive besides the scholarship funding?

In addition to your award, as a Cooke 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 scholars and alumni through events, a mentoring program, and social media.

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

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

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.

Contact Us

The 2018 College Scholarship Program application is now closed.

Semifinalist notifications were sent via email on January 10, 2018. If you have not received a notification email, please check your spam filters. If you still have not received notification, please email scholarships@jkcf.org or call 800-941-3300.