Changes to College Application Season & Research Insights on School Equity

Smiling students meeting in a hallway. One student is holding a fact sheet.

October 18, 2019 – Here’s what we’re reading this week about the issues affecting high-achieving students. New studies from K-12 researchers look at identifying advanced learners and providing universal free meals. Also, prepare for college with tips from a Foundation educational adviser and other resources.

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High-achieving high school seniors can now apply for the Cooke College Scholarship Program, and the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship is accepting applications from community college students preparing to transfer to a four-year institution. Both programs provide up to $40,000 per year, as well as comprehensive educational advising and access to the thriving Cooke Scholar community.


Elementary & Secondary Education:

  • “A new study confirms that lower-income elementary students are far less likely than their wealthier counterparts to be placed in gifted programs. That’s even when those students go to the same school and display the same levels of academic achievement,” reports Nashville Public Radio.
  • Providing universal free lunch boosts academic performance, finds a new study. For students who had not previously qualified or signed up for the free and reduced meals program, the score bumps were  “equivalent to 6-10 weeks of learning,” states Chalkbeat.


Higher Education:

  • Current high school students building their college lists can explore College Greenlight‘s directory of college bridge programs. The National College Access Network (NCAN) shares an annual update to its Form Your Future FAFSA guide.
  • In The Hechinger Report, James Murphy describes how the recent National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) decision not to prohibit incentives indicates that “the inequity built into early decision may well get worse.”
  • “People get that community colleges are a tremendous resource, and now it’s our job to make sure that the philanthropy to community colleges matches the impact they have,” states Geoff Green in the Los Angeles Times.
  • PBS NewsHour reveals how affordable housing options for college students are “increasingly hard to find.”


Cooke Foundation Highlights:

  • Starting this fall, students who take the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) may be invited to apply for academic recognition as part of the College Board National Recognition Programs. The Cooke Foundation is proud to be the strategic partner for the Rural and Small Town Recognition.
  • Cooke Scholar Jerry D. Mathes II has been awarded PEN America’s Writing for Justice Fellowship to complete his next book, In Strange Company. “Anybody who wants to be a writer, needs to write,” Jerry tells the Tehachapi News.
  • Cooke Young Scholar Althea Bennett was among a group of students that successfully convinced their local school board to join a request for proposal that will explore using solar power for its schools. Althea tells the Citizen Times: “It was really refreshing … It definitely gave me a lot of hope.”
  • “Regardless if you are starting the college admission journey, in the midst of applying to college, or in college you need to have a strategy for time management,” writes Evan Read, an educational adviser at the Foundation. Read’s two-part blog series provides an overview of the approach and tools that students can utilize to successfully navigate their journey.


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Photo header: Cooke Scholars sharing resources and information at Scholars Weekend 2019.