Berkeley a finalist for $1 million Cooke Prize for Equity in Educational Excellence

crowd of students, Sather Gate

UC Berkeley is one of five universities named as finalists for the $1 million Cooke Prize for Equity in Educational Excellence, which is the largest award in the nation recognizing a college making strides in enrolling low-income students and supporting them to graduation.

The other four finalists are Brown, Rice, Stanford and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

A study last year by the Cooke Foundation found that only 3 percent of students at top colleges across the nation come from the poorest 25 percent of families, while 72 percent come from the wealthiest 25 percent of families. 

At Berkeley, 32 percent of undergraduates receive a federal Pell Grant, which help low-income families afford a college education.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation will select one of the five to receive the prize in May, Cooke Foundation Executive Director Harold O. Levy said in announcing the finalists.

“The Cooke Prize competition focuses attention on colleges and universities that are leaders in opening their doors wider to outstanding low-income students,” Levy said. “We want other schools to learn from the successful strategies of our finalists, so they can also admit and graduate more students based on academic merit rather than family income. This is vital to creating the educated workforce America requires and to provide equal college access by leveraging resources to recruit, support, and successfully graduate low-income students.”

Read the full press release