Announcing the Second Cooke edX Challenge


Qualified 7th Graders Can Earn Special Consideration for Cooke Scholarships by Completing an edX Online College Course

Outstanding 7th grade students from families with financial need can earn special consideration for a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship if they complete a free college class offered by online course provider edX, the two nonprofit organizations announced today.

The Cooke Young Scholars Program provides high-achieving students entering 8th grade with many benefits, including: individualized counseling to set academic goals; guidance on applying to colleges; and funding for summer educational programs, study abroad, internships and some school expenses.

Up to 70 students will be selected to begin the Young Scholars Program when they start 8th grade in September. Young Scholars must have earned grades of mostly As in school since 6th grade, with no grades of C in English, math, science or social studies. They must live and attend high school in the United States or a U.S. territory.

In the past three years the average annual family income of Young Scholars was $30,000. Almost all Young Scholars have come from families with annual incomes below $60,000.

To date, 96 percent of Cooke Young Scholars have gone on to receive Cooke College Scholarships that are worth up to $40,000 a year, and many receive Cooke Continuing Graduate Scholarships worth up to $50,000 a year for four years.

EdX, a nonprofit founded by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offers free online courses from the world’s best universities and institutions. It is one of the world’s leading providers of massive open online courses (MOOCs), and increases access to education for learners everywhere.

“We’re partnering with edX because we want the brightest young people in the United States with financial need to become Cooke Young Scholars,” Cooke Foundation Executive Director Harold O. Levy said. “A 7th grader who can successfully complete a college course offered by edX is clearly advanced, hard-working and motivated, and that’s exactly the type of student who deserves serious consideration for our scholarship program.”

“EdX is committed to increasing access to high-quality education for people all over the world,” said edX CEO and MIT Professor Anant Agarwal. “We’re proud to work with the Cooke Foundation to open new doors to educational opportunity for excellent students who need financial assistance to reach their full potential.”

The Cooke Foundation and edX launched the Cooke edX Challenge last year to encourage 7th grade students capable of handling college work and who meet scholarship eligibility requirements for financial need to sign up for one of five edX online courses and to apply for the Cooke Young Scholars Program. Last year, 10 of the Young Scholars selected participated in the Cooke edX Challenge.

Registration for the five edX courses that are part of the Cooke edX Challenge is now open. The first of the five courses begins Jan. 18.

Students who audit and pass one of the five courses and apply for the scholarship will also each receive a $25 Amazon gift card. More information about the Cooke edX Challenge can be found here.

The application period for the Cooke Foundation’s Young Scholars Program – the most generous pre-college scholarship and educational support program of its kind in the United States – will begin in late January and will continue until April 14. Detailed information on the program, including instructions on how to apply and a video featuring Young Scholars, can be found here.

Here are the five edX courses that are involved in the Cooke edX Challenge:



The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. It offers the largest scholarships in the U.S., comprehensive counseling and other support services to students from 8th grade to graduate school. Since 2000 it has awarded $147 million in scholarships to nearly 2,000 students and over $88 million in grants to organizations that serve high-achieving, low-income students.

EdX is a nonprofit, open-source learning destination offering online courses from more than 95 member institutions, composed of both leading global universities, and colleges and a diverse group of prominent organizations from around the world. Founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and based in Cambridge, MA, USA, edX is focused on transforming online and classroom learning through groundbreaking methodologies, game-like educational experiences and cutting-edge research on an open-source platform.