Brandi Swiderski, a student at Clatsop Community College, is one of 60 high-achieving community college students selected to receive the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The highly competitive national scholarship aims for Cooke Scholars to complete their undergraduate educations with as little debt as possible. The award, which is last dollar funding after all institutional aid, can provide Brandi Swiderski with as much as $55,000 a year to complete a bachelor’s degree.
Brandi will be pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business with a focus in Marketing at Portland State University beginning Fall 2023. After finishing her bachelors, she plans to pursue Masters in Business Administration with a focus on non-profit management.
When asked to comment on her success, and the impact this scholarship will have on her future, Brandi said, “The work for this scholarship began long before the thought of college even crossed my mind. As a recovering addict, every step I took in the right direction has led up to this. This scholarship ensures that I get to keep moving forward in the right direction and be an example for those who are still struggling.”
This year, overall undergraduate enrollment has remained comparable to last year’s numbers. However, for the first time in several years since the COVID-19 pandemic began, community college enrollment has increased by 2% nationwide.
“There are so many bright and persistent community college students in our nation who we know will thrive at four-year institutions if they can find a way to transfer without being weighed down by a heavy financial burden,” said Seppy Basili, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation. “We are excited to welcome yet another cohort of Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars to our community after learning about them through their applications and seeing their unbound potential.”
Along with financial support, new Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars will receive comprehensive educational advising to guide them through the process of transitioning to a four-year college and preparing for their careers. Scholars will additionally receive opportunities for internships, study abroad, and graduate school funding, as well as connection to a thriving network of more than 3,000 Cooke Scholars and Alumni.
This year, more than 1,700 students from 448 community colleges applied to receive the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The Foundation evaluated each submission based on students’ academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, and leadership.
A list of the 2023 Cooke Transfer Scholars, including their community colleges, can be found here.
The Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded $250 million in scholarships to more than 3,200 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive counseling and other support services. The Foundation has also provided $125 million in grants to organizations that serve such students. www.jkcf.org