Media Release: JKCF Comments About White House Initiative to Improve College Access for Low-Income Students

Lansdowne, VA – The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation issues the following statement in response to the White House initiative to improve college access for low-income students.

The following statement may be attributed to Emily Froimson, vice president of programs, Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

“The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation commends the White House’s initiative to improve college access for low-income students. Today’s summit casts a spotlight on the need for a multi-faceted commitment to improving postsecondary outcomes for low-income students. By not supporting high-achieving, low-income students, we are ignoring a deep and diverse pool of talented people who could make valuable and lasting contributions to the life and livelihood of our nation.

We are committed to narrowing what has become a profound and growing excellence gap in this country, not just at the postsecondary level. The common, but false, assumption is that high-achieving students are fine on their own and don’t need extra support. Research shows that not only are high-achieving, low-income students less like apply to or enroll in highly competitive colleges or even complete college than their low-achieving, high-income peers, they are also less likely to pursue rigorous coursework, score highly on standardized achievement tests, and have access to high-achieving peer groups.

“To combat the growing excellence gap, the Foundation funds direct scholarships and invests in expanding the pipeline of high-achieving/high-potential, low-income students through generous grants. Indeed, since 2001, the Foundation has spent more than $200 million to support high-achieving, low-income students from elementary school through graduate school.

“Working directly with students, the Foundation challenges and inspires our Scholars by ensuring that they have access to stimulating and rigorous curriculum in high school and college and engage in meaningful, high-quality summer experiences. We provide counseling and guide our Scholars about how to prepare for, apply for, select, pay for, and navigate a college that is the best fit. Finally, the Foundation offers among the most generous scholarships in the nation for students in high school, college, and graduate school, allowing students to not just survive but to thrive in their educational experiences.

“Our grants have enabled thousands of high-achieving, low-income students to participate in high-quality summer and arts programming as well as obtain support for applying, selecting, and paying for a college that is a good match.

“Over the past three years, the Foundation has given over $7 million to 10 programs to get more than 2,100 high potential, low-income middle and high school students onto college campuses for summer academic enrichment that would inspire and prepare them for selective colleges in the future. Additionally, since 2005, we have provided more than $14 million to the National College Advising Corp and its programs to help disadvantaged high school students navigate the college application and financial aid processes.

“Finally, the Foundation’s $500,000 Talent Development Award recognizes exemplary practices that transform high-potential, economically disadvantaged elementary and middle school students into high achievers. This award serves to incubate and contribute to the replication of successful school-wide models.

“The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation looks forward to seeing what outcomes like-minded organizations can accomplish. Given the right educational opportunities and services, our nation’s students, no matter their racial and economic backgrounds, can excel.”

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.


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