Media Release: Ed Trust Study Highlights Effects of the "Excellence Gap"

LANSDOWNE, VA – The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is pleased to support The Education Trust’s recent research, “Falling Out of the Lead: Following High Achievers Through High School and Beyond.”

The following statement can be attributed to Emily Froimson, vice president of programs at the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation:

“Little attention has been paid to the growing excellence gap—where high-achieving, low-income and underrepresented students fall academically behind their high achieving, more advantaged peers.

“The new Education Trust research shows that large numbers of low-income students who begin school demonstrating high ability gradually fall behind throughout middle and high schools. By the time they finish high school, these students have lower grades, lower standardized test scores, and fewer AP courses. As the report shows, these outcomes are tied to many factors, including inadequate resources, few opportunities to take rigorous coursework, and a lack of information. Researcher interviews with several of our Scholars highlight the experiences low-income students typically have and show that access to resources and advising can dramatically improve outcomes.

“Based on more than a decade of experience, we know at the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation that such students need specific supports and resources to ensure that they realize their academic potential. This includes:

  • To be academically challenged and inspired during school, after school, and in the summers.
  • Information about how to successfully navigate transitions to high school and college and prepare for,
    identify, and apply to competitive colleges.
  • Financial resources that enable them to develop their academic and artistic talents.
  • A peer community that challenges, supports, and inspires them.

“Unfortunately what we experience through our work and what this report illustrates is that it is not enough to be smart.  High ability students need better resources and opportunities and information to develop their talents. ”


The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private, independent foundation dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Because we believe that high-potential, low-income students will excel educationally when given the resources to develop their talents, the Foundation supports exceptional students from elementary school to graduate school through scholarships, grants, direct service, and knowledge creation and dissemination. Founded in 2000 by the estate of Jack Kent Cooke, the Foundation has awarded $120 million for over 2,000 scholarships and $76 million in grants to organizations that support our mission.