Four Austin Community College District (ACC) students are semifinalists for the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The highly competitive national scholarship provides transfer students with up to $55,000 a year to complete their bachelor’s degrees. 

Out of more than 1,700 applicants, 459 students were named semifinalists, including four ACC students:

  • Benjamin Baker
  • Yashavene Sin Li
  • Isaiah Smith
  • Amber Traylor

“ACC has offered me the opportunity to pursue my education without assuming irrecoverable debts. Now that I am transferring to a four-year university with the intent to one day pursues my doctorate in chemistry, I face the reality of not being able to afford my education. The Jack Kent Cooke scholarship would change that,” says Traylor. “Being announced as a semifinalist has given me hope that I can pay for one of the many ivy league colleges I have applied to. Words cannot express my gratitude to Cooke Foundation and the late Jack Kent Cooke for believing in the success of students like me.”

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation awards its scholarship to deserving community college students based on demonstrated exceptional academic ability, leadership, service, and a determination to complete their bachelor’s degrees at top four-year institutions.

“By lifting the financial burden of pursuing a four-year degree off their shoulders, our goal is to help students take full advantage of a four-year college experience without taking on student debt,” said Seppy Basili, Executive Director of the Cooke Foundation. “This year’s selected semifinalists reflect the deep bench of talent across our community colleges today, and we’re looking forward to getting to know them better in our final application review process.”

In addition to the generous financial support, the Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship offers access to opportunities for internships, study abroad, graduate school funding, and the incomparable connection to a robust network of more than 3,000 fellow Cooke Scholars and Alumni.

Winners will be announced in April. The Foundation will evaluate each submission based on students’ academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, and leadership.

Click here for a full list of semifinalists.

Applications are now open for ACC scholarships. All ACC students are encouraged to apply. The priority deadline to apply for ACC scholarships is May 1. For more information and to apply, visit