Press Release

Cooke Foundation Awards $500,000 to Elite Public High Schools

LANSDOWNE, VA – Today the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announces awards totaling $500,000 to selective public high schools in six states to support the schools’ programs that prepare academically talented, low-income students to get admitted to and graduate from these top schools. Combined, the grants will benefit more than 1,500 students in grades 6-12.

“We want to give low-income students who are really smart an equal opportunity to succeed,” said Harold Levy, executive director of the Cooke Foundation. “Helping high-ability students with financial need fulfill their potential has significant implications for the social mobility among America’s lower-income families and for the strength of our economy.”

Selective public high schools provide a robust learning environment for advanced learners, offering rigorous curricula, deep engagement, and an academically oriented peer community, all contributing to strong preparation for students entering top colleges and universities.

Recent research has shown that economically disadvantaged students are less likely than wealthier peers to perform at advanced levels as they progress through their academic careers, creating a profound Excellence Gap—the disparity between the number of lower and higher income students who reach advanced levels of academic performance. 

“The longer smart, poor kids stay in school, the less likely that they are to remain at the top of their class,” Levy said. “That’s a repudiation of the American Dream, and the foundation is determined to do everything we can to turn that around.”

More information can be found at www.excellencegap.org.

The grant recipients are:

Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts, Hot Springs, AR ($61,152)

Maine School of Science and Mathematics, Limestone, ME ($36,000)

Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and the Ingenuity Project at Poly, Baltimore, MD ($100,000)

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, Durham, NC ($99,781)

Carver High School for Engineering and Science, Philadelphia, PA (($99,007)

Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Arlington, VA ($99,744)

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. By offering the largest scholarships in the country, comprehensive counseling and other support services to students from 7th grade to graduate school, the Foundation is dedicated to ensuring high-performing, low-income students have the support necessary to develop their talents and excel educationally. In addition to its scholarship programs, the Foundation provides grants for innovative, high-impact initiatives that benefit such students. By doing so, the Cooke Foundation seeks to use its resources to end the Excellence Gap, the disparity between the number of low and high income students who reach the top levels of academic performance. Founded in 2000, the Foundation has awarded $130 million in scholarships to 1,900 students and over $80 million in grants. www.jkcf.org

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