College Costs, Transparency, and Our New Executive Director

June 8, 2018 – Here’s our weekly roundup of education news you may have missed. Issues of college affordability and financial aid transparency take center stage. We announce the selection of our new executive director, Seppy Basili.

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Elementary & Secondary Education:

  • The marshmallow test and the 30 million word gap have both come under recent scrutiny regarding their research methodologies. The Atlantic and NPR (respectively, in separate articles) discuss how new findings shift our understanding of self-discipline, parental involvement, and socioeconomic influences.
  • The American Enterprise Institute finds that academic preparation and success in high school is correlated with post-secondary degree attainment. “Researchers and educators should collaborate on pilot interventions aimed at improving success in high school courses,” AEI suggests.
  • Analysis by The 74 shows that beyond an achievement gap, students from low-income backgrounds also face a “relationship gap.” Beyond academic success, students need networks of peers and adults to boost long-term outcomes.


Higher Education:

  • A new study from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research finds that investments in child care for single mothers in college “would more than pay for themselves” through the increases in lifetime tax contributions and reduced need for public benefits. In a related article, MarketWatch chronicles the growing demand for campus child care.
  • The New York Times analyzed data from more than 30 top colleges to determine the actual cost of attendance for families from different income brackets. The analysis finds that colleges with intimidating list prices are likely to be much less expensive for low- and middle-income students due to generous financial aid.
  • A new study determines that last-dollar financial aid, which covers the gap in aid after all other grants and scholarships are awarded, increases retention and reduces financial concerns for low-income college students. Diverse: Issues in Higher Education summarizes.


Cooke Foundation Highlights:

  • Our Board of Directors announces that Giuseppe “Seppy” Basili has been appointed as the Cooke Foundation’s executive director. A leading K-12, college readiness, and higher education expert, Basili brings 30 years of education industry experience to the role.
  • Financial aid letters are notoriously difficult to decipher, leading students unsure of the real cost of attendance. Vox challenges its readers to decipher four particularly challenging letters in response to new research sponsored by the Cooke Foundation. New America and uAspire analyzed 11,000 award letters to find that there were 136 different ways to describe an unsubsidized student loan and in 24 instances, the word “loan” was never used.


Abby, it was wonderful having you be a part of the selection committee this year. Glad you got some new books from June too ?? #JKCF #CookeScholars #ThinkBig #WorkHard #Achieve Repost from @abbymcfee Ten years ago, I applied to the JKCF Young Scholars Program. This week, I got to help select the newest cohort of Young Scholars. Many of the things I love most in my current life were given to me by @thejkcf either directly or indirectly: my alma mater, my job, some of my closest friends…you know, just small things. But I’m especially grateful that it gave me June. Thanks for ten years of mentorship/friendship and for never letting me leave you without a new book in my hands (this time I left with two).

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