JKCF VP's Letter in the Chronicle of Higher Education

chronicle_logoA letter written by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s vice president of programs, Emily Froimson, has been published in The Chronicle of Higher Education in response to a June 16 article titled “The $6 Solution.”

Read the letter in full below.

What’s Wrong With Informing Students About Their Options?

To the Editor:

Though it may seem like too much attention is being paid to the issue of, and solutions to, the problem of undermatching, it is a mistake to disregard a $6 mailing as merely hype or a “distraction” from systemic concerns facing higher education (“The $6 Solution,” The Chronicle, June 16).

While a $6 mailing certainly is not the answer to dramatically increasing college completion for low-income students, what’s wrong with informing individual students about their options with a reasonable and cost-effective tool?

At the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, our mission is focused on serving high-achieving, low-income students and helping them succeed in college and beyond. Our two undergraduate-scholarship programs will fund 420 students this year alone, insuring that these students complete college on time and with little to no debt. And, through our high-school program, hundreds more students are receiving scholarships and advising that will change their life trajectories. Indeed, 98 percent of the students in our Young Scholars Program apply to at least one highly selective school, compared with 47 percent of high-achieving, low-income students nationwide and 94 percent of our scholars enroll in a four-year college in contrast to 44 percent of their similarly-situated peers. We know, however, there are thousands more students like the ones we serve that are not informed or afforded the same opportunities.

We recognize that we cannot provide scholarships for the thousands of students who meet our eligibility requirements, but we celebrate the fact that we help hundreds of students each year meet their potential and achieve their dreams through active mentoring and opening their worlds to colleges and universities that they never thought possible to attend.

There’s no doubt that, as a result of the College Board mailing, more high-achieving, low-income students will become aware of their options and enroll in institutions where they are more likely to graduate. That’s hardly a distraction.

Emily Froimson
Vice President of Programs
Jack Kent Cooke Foundation
Lansdowne, Va.