Approximately 40 community college students from low-income families will be participating in a new program to enable them to complete their bachelor’s degrees at Loyola Marymount University, thanks to a $400,000 grant from the Jack Kent Cook Foundation.

The two-year grant will establish the Cooke Undergraduate Research Scholars Academy at LMU in partnership with El Camino College and West Los Angeles College. The goal of the program is to expand educational opportunities for high-achieving students from the community colleges whose families, schools, and communities need additional resources to help them reach their goals, said an LMU spokesperson.

LMU and its community college partners will provide educational, financial and personal support through an enriched research and educational curriculum along with peer and faculty mentoring.

Between 15 and 20 students will be selected each year to participate. Eligible students must have completed at least 24 college course units, have at least a 3.0 grade point average and meet federal guidelines for low-income students based on eligibility for Pell and Cal grants, according to LMU.

The Cooke scholarship recipients will begin the summer after their freshman year with a 10-day research program hosted at LMU. Each student will be assigned an LMU faculty mentor to supervise their work.

“We welcome this pledge of support from the Jack Kent Cook Foundation,” said Anne Prisco, LMU vice president of enrollment management. “At a time when President Obama is asking the nation’s colleges and universities to make a college education accessible to a broader range of students, this financial commitment provides LMU with vital resources.

“With this help we can strengthen our work with two of our local community college partners, and ultimately foster success among a group of students who might otherwise never receive a bachelor’s degree.”