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 30 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, 2024, or a recent graduate (since spring 2019)
•Plan to enroll in a full-time baccalaureate program at an accredited college or university in the fall of 2024
•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 a maximum annual gross income of $95,000. During the selection process, the Foundation will conduct a full financial review which will take into account all income and assets of the student and the student’s parents.
•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 2024 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 2024, am I still eligible?

No. Students are only eligible if they will transfer and begin studies in fall 2024.

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 2024. 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

How do I find the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship application?

Go to Add Program in Common App for Transfer Students and search Jack Kent Cooke Foundation in search box. Once it comes up, click on the “plus” on the left column and it will turn into a green check mark when it has been added.


Go back to “My Application” and select “Program Materials” You should now see the scholarship listed under your “Program Materials”

Once you click on the application, you should see the following screen. You will need to complete all sections of the application.

When you are requesting recommendations, you will click on the “Request Academic Recommendation” link to add recommenders. Once you fill out this form, Common App will request your recommendations directly from your recommenders. Your recommenders will fill out the letter on the Common App and they will automatically be added to your file. There is no need to send them directly to us.

Click on Documents to add your CV/Resume and your Unofficial College Transcript. At this point of the application, only your Unofficial College Transcript is required. These are the only two required documents.

Do I need to apply to schools through the Common App in order to use the scholarship there?

You do not need to apply to a school on the Common App to be able to use the scholarship funds at that institution. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation requires its Scholars to enroll at any accredited four-year institution that offers baccalaureate degree programs in order to receive the scholarship.

I want to use the Cooke Scholarship at a college or university that isn’t listed in Common App. What should I do?

Some institutions do not use the Common App in their admissions process. If the accredited college or university to which you want to apply is not listed in Common App, you should use whatever platform or method that institution prefers to apply. However, this does not prevent you from applying for a Cooke Scholarship. The Cooke Foundation application is a separate application, and requires applicants to submit via the Common App.

When is the application deadline?

The 2024 Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship application will be open October 5, 2023 – January 11, 2024.

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.
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 May 2023, 60 Scholars were selected for the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The number of Scholars each year varies.

What does the application process involve?

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 30, 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

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, your parent(s) must complete the parent forms or your application will be incomplete.

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. 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.

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.

What is the role of the Cooke Campus Representative at my two-year institution?

Cooke Campus 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 Cooke Campus Representative.

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.

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 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 2008 (the last 15 years). An application that does not include transcripts from all colleges will be considered incomplete.


Are there any costs or fees associated with applying for Cooke Scholarships?

There is no cost or fee associated with completing and submitting a Cooke Scholarship application.

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



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 scholarship 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 U.S. four-year undergraduate institution to pursue a bachelor’s degree in any area of study.

Why should I considering applying to a “selective” college or university?

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

•Financial benefits – Selective institutions often spend more money per student and lower the cost for students with financial need to attend;

•Educational benefits – Selective institutions can help you graduate on time; provide you with access to a variety of co-curricular opportunities that support your educational goals; and give you the chance to be surrounded by other intellectually curious students which enriches your college experience.

•Income and career benefits – For lower-income, high-achieving students, the rewards of attending a selective college or university can stretch beyond graduation, affecting such things as exposure to greater postgraduate opportunities and overall future income.

It is not a requirement that Cooke scholarship applicants apply to selective colleges and universities to be eligible or receive a scholarship from the Foundation. Ultimately, you should choose to apply to institutions that you feel are the best fit for your academic goals and personal needs.

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 three 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 award, which is last dollar funding after all institutional aid, can be as much as $55,000 a 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. You will also be eligible to apply for the Internship Stipend program, Conference and Travel Stipend, and Graduate Scholarship.


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 Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship application is currently closed. It will open in fall 2024.

Please direct questions about your application or the program to scholarships@jkcf.org.