Earlier this week, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced its semifinalists for the prestigious Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Among this year’s 440 semifinalists is Aaron Zabrinas of City Colleges of Chicago: Wilbur Wright College. Aaron was selected as a semifinalist from a nationwide pool of more than 1,200 applicants enrolled in 180 community colleges across 35 states. With the number of transfer students who have continued their enrollment in community college amidst the pandemic on the rise, this was a very competitive year.
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation provides financial support of up to $55,000 per year to currently enrolled community college students who have excelled academically and who demonstrate financial need to earn their bachelor’s degree at select four-year colleges and universities. If chosen as a finalist, Aaron would also receive comprehensive academic advising to help him make a smooth transition to a four-year institution, as well as the opportunities for internships, study abroad, graduate school funding, and become part of the Cooke Scholars and Alumni Network.
Aaron matched with this scholarship opportunity based on his excellent academic record and financial need, along with his perseverance, community service, and leadership experience. He stated, “Scholarships.com helped me immensely when trying to navigate what seems like an endless sea of scholarships. As an adult returning student, balancing work and school can be tough as it is. Sometimes I'm not left with a lot of extra time to figure out how I'm going to pay for university. Aaron also discussed the difficulty of identifying scholarships for non-traditional students, “Being an adult transfer student severely limits my available scholarships, so Scholarships.com helped me filter for what I'm eligible for. Scholarships.com helped me connect with the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation as well as other opportunities and made this process a lot less stressful.”
These students, like so many across the country, have faced unique hardships this past year specifically that are directly related to the pandemic. Seppy Basili, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation said, “The past year has been particularly difficult as students continued to navigate the complexities of hybrid learning, the demands of family care, and disrupted work schedules. We are so proud of these semifinalists for their perseverance and achievements at their community colleges.”
The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has been supporting academically talented students who have financial need since 2000. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded $230 million and provided student support services to 3,000 students from eighth grade to graduate school.