Financial Aid Letters, Social Mobility, and STEM

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February 21, 2020 – Here’s what we’re reading this week about the issues affecting high-achieving students. Social mobility, financial aid letters, and K-12 STEM education were popular topics in media coverage.

Do you know an academically talented 7th grader? Encourage them to apply for the Cooke Young Scholars Program, a selective pre-college scholarship that offers educational support to exceptionally promising students from across the nation. Cooke Young Scholars receive comprehensive advising and scholarship support from 8th grade until high school graduation. The application deadline is March 23, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. ET.

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Elementary & Secondary Education:

  • The Hechinger Report provides a sampling of recent articles on teaching biochemistry in elementary school, using technology for student engagement, and more.
  • STEM or STEAM? Education Week debates whether the arts belong when it comes to learning science, technology, engineering, and math.


Higher Education:

  • “Students with similar test scores but different household incomes attend selective colleges at different rates, according to the latest report from Opportunity Insights,” states Inside Higher Ed. The articles includes more details about the findings.
  • In its second annual impact report, the American Talent Initiative shares that ATI-eligible institutions are more than 40% of the way toward the goal of enrolling an additional 50,000 students with financial need by the year 2025.
  • “Social mobility clearly motivates low-income students to attend college, yet the circumstances of their lives also create obstacles to moving up the ladder on a traditional timetable or even in a straight line,” states Trinity Washington University President Patricia McGuire in Academe. “For these students, the potholes on the road to social mobility loom large.”
  • The New York Times shares expert tips for understanding financial aid offers. A separate piece from Jeffrey Selingo explores how students and families bridge the gap between what a financial aid package covers and the full cost of attendance.


Student Voices:

  • Allison Oliva, a student at UCLA, discusses how an increase in transfer applicants is likely tied to broader student concerns about college affordability in The Daily Bruin.
  • Liyanga de Silva at the University of Maryland writes in The Diamondback that professors need formal training on teaching, not just academic merits, to best serve the needs of students. “When you actually know how to engage your students and communicate new knowledge, you do your part in making a college education truly accessible.”


Cooke Foundation Highlights:

  • The Hechinger Report examines the challenges students with family or financial obligations face in accruing volunteer hours, a criteria often valued by college admissions officers. The story calls out, however, that many admission officers see student work experience as important. The article features insights from Executive Director Seppy Basili on the need for high school counselors to help students demonstrate that valuable experience in their college applications.
  • Baltimore County Public Schools recognizes the achievements of Cooke Young Scholar Ferdinand (“Vee”) Virtudes, Jr. High School Principal Sandra Reid states: “A team player/leader/scholar of the highest caliber and character, Ferdinand was well-suited to receive this elite honor that showcases the impressive, altruistic, and talented young man he is!”
  • Novelist and Cooke Graduate Scholar Kayla Rae Whitaker will share publishing preparation advice read from her current work-in-progress at Appalachian State University on February 27. The Watauga Democrat has the event times and locations.
  • Cooke Transfer Scholar Semifinalists are celebrated by their communities in stories from Georgia State University’s Perimeter College, University of North Georgia, Onondaga Community College, Queens Daily Eagle, and Sanpete Messenger. Cooke College Scholar Semifinalists are highlighted by the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts and Falls Church News-Press.


Social Media Spotlight:


Photo header: Students participate in a robotics competition as part of the EDGE program at Loudoun County Public Schools, which receives support from the Foundation.