January 2024 Newsletter

The Cooke Chronicle has served as a space for us to regularly reflect on the state of K-12 and higher education in the U.S., and we thank you for your readership through the years. In 2023, we touched on significant topics, like trends in college admissions and the importance of access to paid internships for college students. We also celebrated several milestones for the Foundation, including welcoming new Cooke Scholars into the community, meaningful collaboration between Cooke Alumni and current Scholars, and the announcement of over $5.4 million in new grantmaking endeavors. I’m looking forward to the year ahead as we prepare to announce a new cohort of Cooke Scholars, and continue to increase educational opportunities for high-achieving students with financial need.

Moving forward, we will release the Cooke Chronicle on a quarterly basis. Readers can expect an issue in March, June, September, and December. Wishing you a wonderful new year!

Warm regards,

Seppy Basili


Cooke Foundation Highlights

  • Cooke Scholar Kyle Becerra, a political science major at Stanford University, has been named a Schwarzman Scholar – one of 150 from around the world. Schwarzman Scholars will pursue a fully funded master’s degree in global affairs in Beijing, China at Tsinghua University. Kyle transferred to Stanford from Pierce College as a Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholar in 2020 and aspires to serve as a member of Congress someday.
  • Yasmine Arrington Brooks, a 2006 Cooke Young Scholar and 2011 Cooke College Scholar who studied at Elon University, was recently honored as a 2023 CNN Hero. In 2010, Yasmine launched the ScholarCHIPS fund for students with incarcerated parents like herself. The DC-based program provides support and mentorship, as well as scholarship funding so that students that come from families with an incarcerated parent can break the cycle of incarceration themselves and graduate college. Watch the CNN Heroes Tribute video.
  • The 2019 cohort of Cooke Young Scholars are graduating high school this year. They’re receiving admissions decisions as they prepare to transition from high school to college. Among the 59 Young Scholars in this group, students have been accepted to Yale, Duke, Princeton, University of Chicago, Rice, Emory, Tulane, Fordham, University of Georgia, and many others. Congratulations to all the high school seniors who have received a college admission so far!


News for High-Achieving Students

  • 2023 was an eventful year for higher education and 2024 promises to bring additional major developments. Ring in the new year by reading about some of the biggest higher education trends to watch out for over the next 12 months—from the changing admissions landscape to how the expanding role of artificial intelligence will transform classrooms.
  • In late December, the U.S. Department of Education rolled out the much-anticipated overhaul of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Unfortunately, the launch has not been without its problems. Students, families, and school faculty and staff have encountered long wait times to access the FAFSA, lengthy maintenance pauses as the department fine-tunes the updated form, and a variety of bugs and other issues. More than 17 million students are expected to complete the FAFSA this year.
  • A new report from the American Educational Research Association found that all students, especially first-generation and minority students, earn better grades in college science, technology, engineering, and math courses when those classrooms include a higher percentage of underrepresented racial minorities and/or first-generation students. “In STEM courses with higher rates of underrepresented racial minorities, the gap in grades between those students and their peers dropped by 27 percent,” reports EdSurge’s Rebecca Koenig. “In STEM courses with higher rates of first-generation students, the gap in grades dropped by 56 percent.” The study, using data from 20 colleges and universities, highlights the importance of diversity on higher education campuses.


What We’re Reading

EdSurgeTop EdSurge Higher Education Stories of 2023

University BusinessThe next ‘evolution’ in higher ed’s state funding model has arrived, per report

ForbesHas The Time For Three-Year College Degrees Finally Arrived?

ESchool News30 predictions about edtech’s role in higher ed in 2024

Inside Higher EdA Disruptive Year in Admissions