FAQs

The application deadline is Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. in your local time zone.

FAQs

Eligibility

What financial information is required on the application?

You must provide information on your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) as reported on your federal tax return from the past three years. If you are under 25 years old by the application deadline, you must also submit your parent(s)/guardian(s) AGI as well. If you and/or your parent(s)/guardian(s) did not file taxes for any reason, you must provide estimated income for each year as well as an explanation.

If 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 but did not complete a semester of full-time study may be eligible. Please contact us to discuss your situation.

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.

Am I eligible to apply to the Cooke 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, 2019, or a recent graduate (since spring 2014)
•Plan to enroll in a full-time baccalaureate program at an accredited college or university in the fall of 2019
•Have a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 3.5 or better on a 4.0 scale (or the equivalent)
•Demonstrate unmet financial need. We will consider applicants with family income up to $95,000. Last year’s cohort of new Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship recipients had a median family income of approximately $32,000
•No previous enrollment or attendance at a four-year institution. Students who have attended a four-year institution in the past are not eligible for this scholarship.

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.

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 2019, am I still eligible?

No. Students are only eligible if they will transfer and begin studies in fall 2019.

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 can 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/

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 2019. 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.

Application Process and Deadlines

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.

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 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:
○ cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.5 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 $32,000.
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 Scholars will the Foundation select?

In April 2018, 47 scholars were selected for the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The number of scholars each year varies.

What does the application process involve?

This year, the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship application will be submitted using the Common App for Transfer. 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 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 Undergraduate Transfer 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 and, if you are under age 25, for your parent(s)/guardian(s)

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

What are the recommendation requirements?

Two recommendations are required for this application. These must be completed by academic professionals (an adviser, instructor, or professor) well acquainted with your work and character. This person must be an academic professional at your current or most recent institution. Recommendations will be submitted through the Common App for Transfer.

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

The Cooke Foundation requires parent financial information from students younger than 25 years of age. 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 25 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 25 years of age, your parent(s) must complete the parent forms or your application will be incomplete.

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 2003 (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 via the Common App for Transfer 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 via the Common Application and must meet the deadlines established by the Cooke Foundation. Incomplete applications and those submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

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

September 2018 – The Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship application will open via the Common App on September 13, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) ET.

November 2018 – The completed application (including the Common App general questions, all Jack Kent Cooke specific question, and all required supporting documents) are due on November 27, 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.

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.

What the Scholarship Covers

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

During the summer before you transfer to your four-year 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.

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.

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.

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 Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship funds.

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 fifth year – is not funded through the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.

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

The Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship is intended to provide up to three years of funding for recipients. Exceptions to this would only be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If I am awarded the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer 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.

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 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 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 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 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/

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.

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

We are currently accepting applications for the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.

Applicants seeking assistance with the Common App platform should reach out to its Help Center.

For all other inquiries, including questions about the program and eligibility requirements, please email scholarships@jkcf.org or call 800-941-3300.