Two students stand together outside of Wright College.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation has announced the 2024 recipients of its Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, and three of the four awardees from Illinois are City Colleges of Chicago students. Yehuda Goldbloom (right in the photo featured above) and Juan Munoz (left), both engineering students at Wilbur Wright College, as well as a third recipient from Harold Washington College, have been selected for the prestigious transfer award, which supports community college graduates as they pursue their bachelor’s degrees.

In total, 60 students received the Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship this year. The three students from City Colleges were selected from a pool of nearly 1,700 applications from over 380 community colleges.

The award provides up to $55,000 per year to help students pay for their tuition, living expenses, books, and other fees at a four-year college or university. With the scholarship, Yehuda and Juan both plan to transfer to the Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to pursue their bachelor’s degrees.

Juan, who also received the Star Scholarship to cover the costs of his associate degree at City Colleges, says receiving the award means “everything” to him and his family. He plans to study mechanical engineering and hopes to work at a robotics company after he graduates.

“For me, this scholarship means a worry-free education,” Juan said. “It means I don’t need to stress over financials, especially as an undocumented student. Being able to finance my own education through scholarships is something I’m really grateful for.”

Yehuda, who served as the student trustee at City Colleges for the 2023-24 academic year, agrees. He plans to study environmental engineering at UIUC with a focus on One Water, a holistic approach to water management.

“The Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship is a huge affirmation of the effort I’ve put in and a ticket to a life I couldn’t have previously imagined for myself,” Yehuda said. “More importantly, it’s a call to action. I have big dreams, and with the support of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, my focus is now on turning them into reality.”

Both students participated in the Engineering and Computer Science program at Wright College, a unique cohort model that prepares students to transfer to prestigious engineering schools in Illinois and across the country.

“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.

To learn more about this year’s cohort of Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholars, click here.