TCC Student Receives National Transfer Scholarship Potentially Worth More Than $100,000

Kelly Parsley, a student at Tulsa Community College, is one of 60 students from across the country selected to receive the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.

This single mother of five children could receive up to $55,000 per year to complete a bachelor’s degree.

The highly competitive national scholarship aims for Cooke Scholars to complete their undergraduate educations with as little debt as possible and is considered last dollar funding after all institutional aid is applied.

Parsley, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, is graduating from TCC this May with three associate degrees -- Biology, Enterprise Development and Liberal Arts. She plans to transfer to complete a bachelor’s degree and wants to become a physician working in underserved areas and helping people who come from the same background she does.

“Being selected as a Cooke Scholar is life changing with the simple fact that Kelly has the potential to receive up to $55,000 a year to complete her bachelor’s degree,” said Dr. Leigh Goodson, TCC president and CEO. “In congratulating Kelly, we recognize her dedication and perseverance and are incredibly proud of her accomplishments.”

In addition to being a Phi Theta Kappa member and TCC’s Honors Scholar program, Kelly served as president of the TRIO Student Association and president of Motivated Scholars, an organization she founded in Fall 2022 which gives Honors students the opportunity to connect and inspire one another.

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.

“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.”

More than 1,700 students from 448 community colleges applied to receive the 2023 Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The Foundation evaluated each submission based on students’ academic ability and achievement, financial need, persistence, and leadership. Parsley, and a second TCC student, Jesse Brownfield advanced as semifinalists. Brownfield is the first in his family to attend college and plans to graduate in May 2023 from TCC with two associate degrees – one in Mechanical Engineering and one in Mathematics with plans to transfer to OSU.