Application Period Opens for Nation’s Largest Pre-College Scholarship


LANSDOWNE, Va. – Outstanding 7th grade students with financial need can apply from now until April 5 for the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Young Scholars Program, which is the largest high school scholarship and educational support program in the United States.

Students from around the country will be selected to participate in the program from 8th grade through high school graduation. They will get: comprehensive counseling to achieve academic and talent goals; summer learning experiences, including service, leadership, mentoring and study abroad; guidance on applying to high schools and colleges; and support for educational expenses. Students attending both public and private high schools are eligible.

Each Young Scholar will have an educational adviser and will engage with the community of other Young Scholars in academic programming. And each Cooke Young Scholar will be eligible for participation in the Cooke College Scholarship, which is a scholarship provided to extremely talented undergraduates.

“Many parents of high-achieving students with financial need simply don’t have the money to send their children to academically rigorous summer programs, to get their children the best advice about applying for college, or to provide enrichment activities during the school year,” said Cooke Foundation Executive Director Harold O. Levy. “Cooke Young Scholars will get these things so they can be better prepared for excelling at America’s elite colleges.”

More than 90 percent of Cooke Young Scholars who apply for the Cooke College Scholarships  are awarded the scholarship, which is worth up to $40,000 a year. Many have also received Cooke Graduate Scholarships, worth up to $50,000 a year for up to four years.

More information about the Cooke Young Scholars Program, including instructions on how to apply and a video featuring scholars, can be found here.

In the past three years the average annual family income of Cooke Young Scholars was $35,000. Almost all Young Scholars have come from families with annual incomes below $60,000. Scholarships are awarded without regard to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, citizenship or permanent residency status.


The Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the foundation has provided over $152 million in scholarships to nearly 2,200 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive counseling and other support services. The foundation has also awarded over $90 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.