The scholarships will provide up to $50,000 per year for up to six years to help high-achieving, low-income students pursue graduate or professional degrees. Many of the 2009 scholars have been able to complete college with support from the foundation's undergraduate transfer and college scholarship programs. While completing a graduate degree has become an increasingly important step to professional and financial success, only 29 percent of high-achieving, low-income college graduates receive graduate degrees, compared to 47 percent of high achievers from upper-income families.
As in past years, this year's cohort of graduate scholars is dedicated to public service. Nearly a quarter of the recipients plan to work in political science, international relations and development, economics, public policy, or sociology, while nearly 20 percent are seeking careers in medicine, medical anthropology, nursing, or public and global health. The 2009 scholars include fifteen international students who hail from countries such as Afghanistan, China, Vietnam, Nepal, Myanmar, India, Russia, Ecuador, and Nigeria.
"These students represent a generation of new leaders," said Cooke Foundation executive director Lawrence Kutner. "At a time when getting advanced degrees is so critical to professional success, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is committed to helping exceptional students like these pursue their dreams so they can make a difference in the world."
For a complete list of the 2009 graduate scholarship recipients, visit the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Web site.