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.

What are the recommendation requirements?

Two Recommendations are required for this application. The first required online recommendation must be completed by an academic professional (an advisor, instructor, or professor) well acquainted with your work and character. This person must be an academic professional at your current or most recent institution.

The second required online recommendation may be completed by an instructor, professor, advisor, or other person well acquainted with your work and character. It is strongly suggested that the second recommendation is completed by an academic professional at your current or most recent two-year institution.

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.

How does the Cooke Foundation determine unmet financial need?

The Cooke Foundation considers academic excellence first in evaluating candidates. However, to be 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.

Factors relevant to this determination include:

  • One indicator that candidates have financial need is that they were eligible for need-based aid while attending a two-year college.
  • Non-U.S. citizens may be eligible for the foundation’s scholarships if they demonstrate unmet financial need, regardless of their eligibility for other types of federal and institutional financial aid.

What financial information is required on the application?

You must provide information on your income, benefits, and assets and submit a copies of your federal tax return from the past three years. If you are under 30 years old by the application deadline, your parents are also required to submit the same information on their finances.

Why does the Cooke Foundation require financial information from my parents?

The Cooke Foundation requires parent financial information from students younger than 30 years of age (by the application deadline). One reason we require financial information from parents is that research shows that students from lower-income backgrounds are less likely to complete a college degree or assume educational debt, and therefore may need greater assistance than others.

I am under 30 years of age but I am independent from my parents and do not receive financial support from them. Do my parents still need to complete the financial information forms?

Yes. Even if you are financially independent, if you are under 30 years of age (by the application deadline), your parent(s) must complete the parent forms or your application will be incomplete.

Which financial forms must my parents complete?

If you are under the age of 30 (by the application deadline), your parents must complete the online Parent Forms. Both of your natural or adoptive parents must complete the proper forms.

It is your responsibility to confirm that all forms are completed by the deadline. Applications missing any of these forms will be disqualified.

What documents can my parents submit if they are living abroad and do not file U.S. taxes?

Applicants and/or parents living abroad and not filing U.S. tax returns for the past three years must complete the online forms to the best of their ability and upload a statement (in English or a certified translation into English) from their employer(s) listing all income and benefits the past three years.

When can I apply?

Applicants will be able to access the online application from the end of August to the end of October.

What are the application requirements?

The application requirements include:

Online application, including requested uploads.

  • Two recommendations from professors or instructors at the applicant’s community college.
  • Student Financial Form, including a copies of your federal tax returns from the past three years.
  • Parent Financial Form, including a copies of their federal tax return from the past three years (required for applicants under 30 years of age).

Do I need to submit transcripts from all of the two-year and four-year colleges I attended, even if it was many years ago?

Applicants must submit transcripts from all colleges attended since 2002 (the last 15 years). An application that does not include transcripts from all colleges will be considered incomplete.

If I studied abroad and one of my transcripts is in a language other than English, does it need to be translated?

Yes, transcripts and all supporting documents must be in English or officially translated into English.

Do I need to be nominated by my two-year institution?

No. Applicants for the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship may apply directly to the Cooke Foundation and do not require nomination by their community college or two-year institution.

What is the role of the faculty representative at my two-year institution?

Faculty representatives serve as an important resource to applicants and are encouraged to offer guidance during the application process. The Cooke Foundation invites each licensed and accredited two-year institution in the U.S. to name a faculty representative.

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 is the application deadline?

The application, recommendations, and parent form(s) (if applicable) are all due on October 24, 2017 (12:00 p.m., noon, EST).

What are the key dates in the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship application and selection process?

The Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship application will open August 24, 2017. The application, recommendations, and parent form(s) (if applicable) are all due on October 24, 2017 (12:00 p.m., noon, Eastern Time).

November 2017 – March 2018
Applications reviewed by scholarship review panels.

Early April 2018
Notification of award status is emailed to all applicants.

July 2018
Cooke Foundation Scholars Weekend – attendance is mandatory for all selected recipients.

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 there age restrictions for applicants?

No. This program has no age restrictions.

If I transfer and begin studies at the four-year institution in spring 2018, am I still eligible?

No. Students are only eligible if they will transfer and begin studies in fall 2018.

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

No. Only transfer students who are not already enrolled in a four-year undergraduate institution are eligible.

How will I know if my community college or two-year institution is eligible?

All licensed and accredited community colleges and two-year institutions in the U.S. are listed in two locations:

  • The Higher Education Directory, published by Higher Education Publications, Inc., and available at most libraries.
  • The U.S. Department of Education’s website: http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/

Do I meet the minimum eligibility requirements for an Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship?

Cooke Scholars possess exceptional academic records and demonstrate unmet financial need. At a minimum, each candidate for the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship must:

  • Be a current student at an accredited U.S. community college or two-year institution with sophomore status as of January 1, 2018, or a recent graduate (since spring 2013)
  • Plan to enroll in a full-time baccalaureate program at an accredited college or university in the fall of 2018
  • Have a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.5 or better on a 4.0 scale (or the equivalent)
  • Demonstrate unmet financial need

Please Note: Students who have attended a four-year institution in the past are not eligible for this scholarship. (If you started at a four-year institution, but did not complete a semester of full-time study, then you may be eligible. Please contact us to verify your eligibility.) Students who have already transferred to a four-year institution or plan to transfer to start during the spring 2018 semester are also not eligible for this scholarship.

I have attended a four-year institution previously, am I eligible for this scholarship?

Not likely. Students who have enrolled in a four-year institution previously and did not complete a semester of full-time study may be eligible. Please contact us to discuss your situation.

I am a community-college student with credit for several courses. I am not sure if I will have sophomore status by January 2018. What constitutes sophomore status?

Please check with your community college for its official policy. Typically, colleges require students to complete 30 credit hours to complete freshman year. To be eligible, therefore, typical applicants will have successfully completed at least 30 credit hours, or the equivalent.

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

U.S. citizenship is not required. Candidates, however, must have attended an accredited two-year institution in the United States.


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 chances of being awarded a scholarship?

The Cooke Foundation expects to receive approximately 3,500 applications and will award approximately 55 Undergraduate Transfer Scholarships in 2018.

What the Scholarship Covers

Are there limits on the types of four-year colleges scholars may attend or the areas of study scholars may pursue?

The Cooke Foundation strongly encourages students to attend selective colleges and universities. Scholars may use the award to attend any accredited four-year undergraduate institution in the U.S. to pursue a bachelor’s degree in any area of study.

Why does the Cooke Foundation want me to apply to a “selective” college or university?

There are a number of reasons why a high-achieving transfer student with financial need should apply to and attend a selective college or university. Some include:

  • Financial benefits – Compared to many colleges and universities, selective institutions often spend more money per student and also lower the cost for students with financial need to attend;
  • Educational benefits – Selective institutions are designed to help you graduate on time; provide you with more choices, more opportunities, and more access; and give you the chance to be surrounded by other intellectually curious students which enriches your college experience.
  • Income and career benefits – For low-income, high-achieving transfer 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 future income.

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 much support does the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship provide?

Each award will fund a portion of educational costs, including tuition, room and board, books, and other required fees for the period required to complete the undergraduate degree program, generally two or two-and-a-half years. The amount and duration of awards varies by student, based on the cost of attendance and length of the program as well as the amount of other scholarships or grants the scholar receives. The maximum amount of the Cooke Foundation’s scholarship is $40,000 per year.

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/

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.

Contact Us

The 2018 Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship application is now closed.

Final notifications were sent via email on April 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.