FAQs

The application deadline is Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. in your local time zone.

Eligibility

What financial information is required on the application?

You must provide information on your family’s Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) as reported on your federal tax return from the past three years. If your family did not file taxes for any reason, you must provide estimated income for each year as well as an explanation.

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.

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 U.S. high school in spring 2019
•Intend to enroll full time in an accredited four-year college beginning in fall 2019
•Earn a cumulative unweighted GPA of 3.5 or above
•Receive standardized test scores of either an SAT Total Score of 1200 and above OR an ACT Composite Score of 26 or above
•Demonstrate unmet financial need. We will consider applicants with family income up to $95,000. Last year’s cohort of new college scholarship recipients had a median family income of approximately $26,000.

If I am homeschooled, am I eligible to apply?

Yes, homeschooled students are eligible to apply.

We strongly encourage you to request your two recommendations from educators other than your parents, for example, a professor from any dual-enrollment college courses, someone who has mentored you in a tutorial, the local librarian with whom you’ve discussed books over the years, or someone in whose lab you have done research.

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?

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. You must take the test and receive scores of an SAT Total Score of 1200 or above OR an ACT Composite Score of 26 or above.

If you took the SAT prior to March 2016, you can convert your scores to check your eligibility using this 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?

You can pursue a baccalaureate degree in the field of study of your choice. However, non-degree programs are not eligible.

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 or SAT from the College Board. 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 does 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.

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 2019.

Application Process and Deadlines

How do I know if my application is complete?

The Common App system will not allow you to submit an incomplete application.

Common App will email you with confirmation that your application has been submitted. If you do not receive this email, you can log in to your application account and click the “Submit Application” tab. You should see a green check mark indicating that your application was submitted. If you are experiencing issues, contact the Common App support desk at https://www.commonapp.org/help-center or use the Chat feature while you are logged into your application.

What does the application process involve?

This year, the College Scholarship Program application will be submitted using the Common App. You will complete the Common App general requirements, which include things like your contact information, the school you attend and your grades, and your activities and honors. You will also invite your school counselor and two teachers to submit recommendations through the Common App. Once you have created a Common App, add the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation as one of your “schools” to access the requirements that are specific to the College Scholarship. These will include:

•Eligibility questions
•Several short essays
•Your college plans and intended major
•Financial information, including the last three years’ Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) for your household

You can learn more about applying through the Common App on their website: https://www.commonapp.org/how-apply

What are the key dates in the College Scholars Program application and selection process?

September 2018 – The College Scholars Program application will open via the Common App on September 6, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) ET.

November 2018 – The completed application (including the Common App general questions, all Jack Kent Cooke specific questions, and all required supporting documents) are due on November 20, 2018 (11:59 p.m., midnight, local time).

December 2018 – March 2019 – Applications reviewed by scholarship review panels.

April 2019 – Notification of award status is emailed to all applicants.

July 2019 – Cooke Foundation Scholars Weekend – attendance is mandatory for all selected recipients.

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

All documents are required to be uploaded into your Common App according to the directions in the application. If you do not follow the instructions, your application may not be considered. The application – including the Common App general questions, all Jack Kent Cooke specific questions, and all required supporting documents – must be submitted by the application deadline of November 20, 2018.

How many recommendations will be required?

We require two academic recommendations which will be submitted through Common App. One recommendation must be 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 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. You must also include an explanation regarding your family’s financial circumstances.

Must I provide an official transcript?

Yes, and your official high school transcript will be submitted by your school counselor through the Common App.

Who do I contact with questions regarding the scholarship application process?

All technical questions (e.g. passwords, uploading documents, inviting recommenders) should be directed to the Common App support desk at https://www.commonapp.org/help-center or using the Chat feature while you are logged into your application.

All program questions about the Cooke Foundation program (eligibility, funding, program structure) should be directed to the Cooke Foundation Help Desk via email to scholarships@jkcf.org or call 800-941-3300.

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 20, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. local time). Due to this, we recommend taking the SAT by October 6, 2018 and/or the ACT by October 27, 2018.

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

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
○ high college entrance exam scores: SAT Total 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: We will consider applicants with family income up to $95,000. Last year’s cohort of new college scholarship recipients had a median family income of approximately $26,000.
•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 U.S. 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.

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.

Contact Us

The application for the 2019 Cooke College Scholarship Program has closed. Semifinalists will be notified in late January.

If you have any questions regarding your application status, please email scholarships@jkcf.org or call 800-941-3300.