Expanding Access for Talented, Low-Income Students


March 24, 2017 – Here’s our weekly roundup of education news you may have missed. Higher ed advocates and public K-12 schools look for ways to expand opportunities for high-achieving students from low-income families. Subscribe here to receive the Cooke Chronicle each week in your inbox.

We are currently accepting applications for the 2017 Cooke Young Scholars Program! High-achieving 7th graders with financial need are encouraged to apply for this unique scholarship. Tell a talented student to start an application today!


Elementary & Secondary Education:

  • School districts in New York City and Pittsburgh are evaluating ways to increase diversity in their gifted programs, report (respectively) Chalkbeat and Public Source. In Texas, the Kilgore Independent School District has pursued practices so that “students in the [gifted and talented] program reflect the percentage of economically disadvantaged students on a campus and in the district,” says the Kilgore News Herald.
  • The Orlando Sentinel describes Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ visit Valencia College, which highlighted the community college’s dual enrollment offerings for high school students. Education Week notes that dual enrollment may be considered a form of school choice, a primary focus for DeVos.


Higher Education:

  • The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) finds that up to 95 percent of colleges are unaffordable for low-income students. “All of this means that low-income students are less likely than their wealthier peers to actually earn a degree, even if they have the same academic profiles,” states The Atlantic’s summary of the research.
  • A new study on “nudging” from the University of Virginia’s EdPolicyWorks “reveals that providing students with concrete planning prompts to complete the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) can increase college enrollment by as much as two percentage points.”
  • “When college admissions officers have more information about the high schools attended by low-income applicants, those applicants are more likely to be admitted,” reports Inside Higher Ed. The study provided admissions officers at selective schools with either limited or more-detailed information regarding family socioeconomic status and high school context.


Cooke Foundation Highlights:

  • We’ve announced the recipients of our 2017 Good Neighbor Grants! Eight local nonprofits are awarded a total of $225,000 to provide academic and arts enrichment programs for K-12 students in Northern Virginia; Washington, D.C.;  and Maryland.
  • A Laurel TV special on paying for college features interviews with Cooke Scholar Modupe Adepoju and Executive Director Harold O. Levy.
  • Levy is also quoted in a New York Times piece that chronicles the post-graduation plans of high-potential, low-income students in Topeka, Kansas.


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