Schoolcraft College Student Receives $40,000 Scholarship to Continue Undergraduate Studies

Published Apr 17, 2017
Livonia, MI—Elis Sholla is the sixth Schoolcraft College student to receive the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. ElisIMG_7204 is one of approximately 60 students in the United States to receive as much as $40,000 per year (for up to three years) to pursue his higher education goals, including completion of a bachelor of science degree at University of Michigan. 

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship is the largest private scholarship for two-year and community college transfer students in the country. Nearly 3,000 students from over 700 community colleges annually apply for this scholarship that recognizes the nation’s best low-income community college students seeking to complete a bachelor’s degree at an accredited college or university.

IMG_7209Elis grew up in Albania and moved to the United States just a few years ago “for the outstanding education and infinite career opportunities in the field of science.” While taking as many classes as possible in preparation for further studies in engineering and computer science, he helps fellow classmates succeed in physics for calculus based engineering students, tutors in the college’s Learning Assistance Center in math, physics, chemistry, programming and accounting and is a Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) Leader.  “Elis’ has experienced many life-changing challenges, financial challenges, and personal challenges, and in spite of all this, he has learned the English language, enrolled in college, excelled in college, persisted beyond anyone's expectations, and is ready for this next transformative phase in his life,” said Laurie Kattuah-Snyder, associate dean of transfer and partnerships for Schoolcraft. “He is a tremendous inspiration to his fellow students.

”Upon being notified that he had been selected as a Jack Kent Cooke Scholar during a surprise announcement with leaders from Schoolcraft College and many of Elis’ friends and fellow students, Elis thanked everyone in attendance for their support. “There are so many people who have helped me along the way—my instructors, the advisors, my fellow PTK (Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society) members and so many others,” said Elis. “Most especially I want to thank the Schoolcraft College Foundation, who gave me such a great opportunity with the first scholarship they provided to me to attend Schoolcraft College.”

Jack Kent Cooke Scholars are selected based on high academic ability and achievements, persistence, leadership and financial need. The average GPA of the incoming class is 3.9.  

"Community colleges provide four-year colleges and universities with a great talent pool of students who have shown they can excel in college-level work," Cooke Foundation Executive Director Harold O. Levy said. "When I was New York City Schools Chancellor, I didn't realize that a large number of high achieving students from low-income backgrounds were beginning their college pathways in community college. The foundation is particularly interested in making sure a number of these top students succeed at the nation's top colleges and universities."

The Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the foundation has provided over $152 million in scholarships to nearly 2,200 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive counseling and other support services. The foundation has also awarded over $90 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.


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