Madison College Student Grace Zongo Awarded Highly-Competitive Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship


The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has announced Madison College student Grace Zongo is one of 60 community college students who are recipients of the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.

This highly competitive award allows students to complete their undergraduate degrees at four-year institutions with minimal financial burden.

Zongo graduated from the Liberal Art Transfer Program-Engineering pre-major on May 10, 2024 and intends to major in electrical engineering.

Zongo has 4.0 GPA and has extensive project and volunteer experience. Zongo's career goal is to become an electrical engineer and leverage skills to create more access to technology for the residents of his home country.

"I chose to do electrical engineering because it is my childhood passion, coming from a family without electricity access in Burkina Faso," Zongo said. "So as I grew up, this passion slowly transformed into a deep desire to bring affordable electronics and energy to my home country."

According to Community College Research Center research, transfer pathways from community colleges are a significant contributor to enrollment and diversity at four-year institutions. However, a lack of scholarship opportunities for transfer students, as well as other obstacles like losing credits during the transfer process, continue to keep bachelor’s degree completion rates low.

Madison College student, Grace Zongo
Madison College graduate Grace Zongo was awarded the Kent Cooke Scholarship.

“Community college students remain far too underrepresented at our nation’s top institutions, despite clear research demonstrating their success once they arrive. Our scholarship is one way we aim to ensure that high-achieving students have the opportunity to complete their degree where they want, regardless of their financial background,” said Seppy Basili, executive director of the Cooke Foundation.

One objective of the scholarship is to give Scholars the opportunity to graduate with as little debt as possible.  The award, which is last dollar funding after all other institutional aid, can provide as much as $55,000 a year.  In addition to the financial support, Cooke Transfer Scholars receive comprehensive educational advising – guidance that is crucial for navigating their transition to four-year colleges and planning their career paths. Cooke Scholars also benefit from access to internship opportunities, study abroad and graduate school funding, as well as a dynamic network of over 3,000 Cooke Scholars and Alumni.

This year’s application saw nearly 1,700 applications from over 380 community colleges. Applicants were evaluated on their academic prowess, financial need, and leadership qualities.