How to Apply

This scholarship rewards excellence by supporting high-achieving high school seniors with financial need who seek to attend the nation's best four-year colleges and universities.

Selected from a nationwide pool of applicants, each year approximately 40 students will become Cooke Scholars and have access to funding for up to four years for undergraduate studies.

Each award is intended to cover a significant share of the student’s educational expenses – including tuition, living expenses, books and required fees. Awards vary by individual, based on the cost of tuition as well as other grants or scholarships he or she may receive.

This highly competitive scholarship includes:

  • Up to $40,000 per year to attend a four-year accredited undergraduate school
  • Ability to pursue any area of study
  • Personal advising about selecting a college and navigating financial aid
  • Multifaceted advising about how to transition to college and maximize the college student experience

Financial Benefits

Counterintuitive to what you might think, applying to and attending an “expensive” college or university can cost less and get you more.

Compared to many colleges and universities, selective institutions:

  • Spend more money on you — selective colleges invest more money per student than nonselective schools — the per-student expenditure at the most selective schools in the United States is $92,000 versus just $12,000 at the least selective schools.  That $92,000 buys you such things as excellent, dedicated faculty; state-of-the art laboratories and libraries; fully staffed centers to help with career planning, tutoring and studying abroad; and a greater diversity of majors, so you can choose what is right for you.
  • Lower the costs for you to attend — the richest colleges and universities (such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford) ask many students to pay only 20 percent of the overall cost of attendance. In other words, for a school that says its tuition and other costs are close to $50,000 per year, the student only pays $10,000 of that. For low-income students, that is usually reduced to $0 because financial aid (through grants and loans) covers all costs.

Educational Benefits

Not all colleges provide the same educational opportunities; instead the quality of a student’s education can vary based on the resources the school has to offer.

Compared to many colleges and universities, selective institutions:

  • Are designed to help you graduate on time — four-year graduation rates tell a lot about a school; the best schools in the nation graduate 85 to 88 percent of all freshman who enter within the four-year timeline. This increases to 90-98 percent if you extend to six years. This means if you enter one of these schools, you are highly likely (due to your academic talent and the resources offered to you) to graduate in a timely manner and get a job or go on to graduate school. This is important when the majority of college students attend schools that may offer only a 30 to 50 percent chance of graduating; that is a 50 to 70 percent chance of not graduating!
  • Give you the chance to make friends with those who share a passion for learning — attending a selective school means you are likely to be surrounded by other intellectually curious students; what you learn from other smart people enriches your college experiences.
  • Provide you with more — more choices of major, more opportunities outside the classroom (such as study abroad, undergraduate research, and internship opportunities), more access to state-of-the-art facilities such as labs, recreation centers, and libraries, and more exposure to top-notch faculty (because there are more faculty per student than other colleges and there are more chances for you to take small seminar classes where you get to connect more personally with faculty).

Income and Career Benefits

For low-income, high-achieving high school students, the rewards of attending a selective college or university can stretch well beyond graduation, affecting such things as exposure to greater postgraduate opportunities and overall earnings.

Compared to many colleges and universities, selective institutions:

  • Expose you to graduate school opportunities — students who attend selective colleges and universities receive greater exposure to resources that can help on the path to graduate school (these include faculty mentors and like-minded peers).
  • Provide you access to important and influential networks — alumni groups can help open doors to new opportunities.
  • Increase your chances of making more money over your lifetime — research has found that students from low-income backgrounds who attend elite schools stand to make greater financial gains over a lifetime than their peers who attend less selective schools.

Eligibility

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Senior standing – Plan to graduate from a U.S. high school in spring 2018.
  • Fall College Enrollment – Intend to enroll in an accredited four-year college beginning in fall 2018.
  • GPA – Earn a cumulative unweighted GPA of 3.5 or above.
  • Test Scores – Receive standardized test scores in the top 15%: SAT combined critical reading and math score of 1200 or above and/or ACT composite score of 26 or above.
  • Income – Demonstrate significant 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.

Selection Criteria

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation reviews each College Scholarship Program application individually with the assistance of a panel of national 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. In addition to GPA and college entrance exam scores, we consider participation in available advanced courses, commitment to learning, and 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.
  • 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 and out of school (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.

The Applicant

The student who, if selected, will become a Cooke College Scholar.

Parents and Guardians

Both of the biological or adoptive parents of the applicant. If the parents are not married to each other, there is a separate form for each parent. If there is only one parent (the second parent is deceased, unknown, missing or not in contact with the applicant), then the sole parent can complete the form independently.

Academic Recommenders

Two academic recommendations are required, one from an 11th grade teacher and one from a teacher in 9th grade through present. Both must teach a core academic subject (English/language arts, mathematics, social studies/history, science, or foreign language).

A Principal or Guidance Counselor

A school official who can provide information such as school statistics and test data.

How do I apply?

Access to online application opens in mid-September. When the application period is open, instructions and links to the online portal will be available.

When do I apply?

The College Scholarship Program application is available to students only during their senior year. The application opens in mid-September and closes in mid-November. The applications are reviewed December through March, and final notifications are made in April.

Notify Me

Why Apply

Selected from a nationwide pool of applicants, each year approximately 40 students will become Cooke Scholars and have access to funding for up to four years for undergraduate studies.

Each award is intended to cover a significant share of the student’s educational expenses – including tuition, living expenses, books and required fees. Awards vary by individual, based on the cost of tuition as well as other grants or scholarships he or she may receive.

This highly competitive scholarship includes:

  • Up to $40,000 per year to attend a four-year accredited undergraduate school
  • Ability to pursue any area of study
  • Personal advising about selecting a college and navigating financial aid
  • Multifaceted advising about how to transition to college and maximize the college student experience

Financial Benefits

Counterintuitive to what you might think, applying to and attending an “expensive” college or university can cost less and get you more.

Compared to many colleges and universities, selective institutions:

  • Spend more money on you — selective colleges invest more money per student than nonselective schools — the per-student expenditure at the most selective schools in the United States is $92,000 versus just $12,000 at the least selective schools.  That $92,000 buys you such things as excellent, dedicated faculty; state-of-the art laboratories and libraries; fully staffed centers to help with career planning, tutoring and studying abroad; and a greater diversity of majors, so you can choose what is right for you.
  • Lower the costs for you to attend — the richest colleges and universities (such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford) ask many students to pay only 20 percent of the overall cost of attendance. In other words, for a school that says its tuition and other costs are close to $50,000 per year, the student only pays $10,000 of that. For low-income students, that is usually reduced to $0 because financial aid (through grants and loans) covers all costs.

Educational Benefits

Not all colleges provide the same educational opportunities; instead the quality of a student’s education can vary based on the resources the school has to offer.

Compared to many colleges and universities, selective institutions:

  • Are designed to help you graduate on time — four-year graduation rates tell a lot about a school; the best schools in the nation graduate 85 to 88 percent of all freshman who enter within the four-year timeline. This increases to 90-98 percent if you extend to six years. This means if you enter one of these schools, you are highly likely (due to your academic talent and the resources offered to you) to graduate in a timely manner and get a job or go on to graduate school. This is important when the majority of college students attend schools that may offer only a 30 to 50 percent chance of graduating; that is a 50 to 70 percent chance of not graduating!
  • Give you the chance to make friends with those who share a passion for learning — attending a selective school means you are likely to be surrounded by other intellectually curious students; what you learn from other smart people enriches your college experiences.
  • Provide you with more — more choices of major, more opportunities outside the classroom (such as study abroad, undergraduate research, and internship opportunities), more access to state-of-the-art facilities such as labs, recreation centers, and libraries, and more exposure to top-notch faculty (because there are more faculty per student than other colleges and there are more chances for you to take small seminar classes where you get to connect more personally with faculty).

Income and Career Benefits

For low-income, high-achieving high school students, the rewards of attending a selective college or university can stretch well beyond graduation, affecting such things as exposure to greater postgraduate opportunities and overall earnings.

Compared to many colleges and universities, selective institutions:

  • Expose you to graduate school opportunities — students who attend selective colleges and universities receive greater exposure to resources that can help on the path to graduate school (these include faculty mentors and like-minded peers).
  • Provide you access to important and influential networks — alumni groups can help open doors to new opportunities.
  • Increase your chances of making more money over your lifetime — research has found that students from low-income backgrounds who attend elite schools stand to make greater financial gains over a lifetime than their peers who attend less selective schools.
Who Can Apply

Eligibility

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Senior standing – Plan to graduate from a U.S. high school in spring 2018.
  • Fall College Enrollment – Intend to enroll in an accredited four-year college beginning in fall 2018.
  • GPA – Earn a cumulative unweighted GPA of 3.5 or above.
  • Test Scores – Receive standardized test scores in the top 15%: SAT combined critical reading and math score of 1200 or above and/or ACT composite score of 26 or above.
  • Income – Demonstrate significant 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.

Selection Criteria

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation reviews each College Scholarship Program application individually with the assistance of a panel of national 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. In addition to GPA and college entrance exam scores, we consider participation in available advanced courses, commitment to learning, and 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.
  • 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 and out of school (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.
What Information Do I Need

The Applicant

The student who, if selected, will become a Cooke College Scholar.

Parents and Guardians

Both of the biological or adoptive parents of the applicant. If the parents are not married to each other, there is a separate form for each parent. If there is only one parent (the second parent is deceased, unknown, missing or not in contact with the applicant), then the sole parent can complete the form independently.

Academic Recommenders

Two academic recommendations are required, one from an 11th grade teacher and one from a teacher in 9th grade through present. Both must teach a core academic subject (English/language arts, mathematics, social studies/history, science, or foreign language).

A Principal or Guidance Counselor

A school official who can provide information such as school statistics and test data.

How and When to Apply

How do I apply?

Access to online application opens in mid-September. When the application period is open, instructions and links to the online portal will be available.

When do I apply?

The College Scholarship Program application is available to students only during their senior year. The application opens in mid-September and closes in mid-November. The applications are reviewed December through March, and final notifications are made in April.

Notify Me

FAQs

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...

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.

Contact Us

The 2018 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.