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Scholarships and Financial Assistance

Students served by Say Yes Guilford have the opportunity to receive tuition scholarships to a range of public and private institutions – including the 86 private colleges and universities that are members of the Say Yes Higher Education Compact.

Who’s Eligible?

Say Yes Guilford is a chapter of Say Yes to Education, a national nonprofit organization that is working with an array of community partners to give students enrolled in Guilford County Schools (GCS) access to tuition scholarships to college and other postsecondary programs, as well as academic and non-academic support services intended to ensure they are prepared for that opportunity.

Say Yes Scholarships aren’t designed to cover the full cost of post-secondary education but rather assist in making the process of paying for college feasible.

Q: Who is eligible to apply for Say Yes Guilford Scholarships?

A: Students who graduate from Guilford County Schools high schools and who are residents of Guilford County.

Q. What does “tuition scholarship” mean? 

A: For students attending a public institution, it means that the Say Yes Scholarship will cover the remaining balance of a student’s tuition costs (up to the designated tuition cap) after Pell grant, state need-based aid, and institutional aid have been applied. Students attending one of our Say Yes Higher Education Compact are encouraged to click here to find out more.

Q: Are undocumented and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) students eligible for Say Yes Scholarships?

A: Say Yes Guilford encourages undocumented students to reach out to the Say Yes Guilford Scholarship Department. The department can work with those students to match them with Say Yes Guilford’s private college and university partners whose policies may permit them to offer financial support to undocumented/DACA students. Click here for additional resources for undocumented students.

Because undocumented/DACA students are not eligible to access federal and state aid they are not eligible for a tuition scholarship to an in-state public institution from the local Say Yes Scholarship funds. Click here to learn more about how Federal Aid works for Undocumented/DACA Students.

How Scholarships Work

Q: How will the scholarships work to an in-state public college or university?

A: In the case of a two-year or four-year North Carolina public college or university, Say Yes provides a tuition scholarship to cover the tuition costs (up to the designated tuition cap) that are not covered by Federal Pell Grant and state need-based aid or scholarships granted by the institutions themselves.  In order to receive a Say Yes Scholarship, eligible students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Say Yes Certification Form.

The Say Yes Scholarships will be provided by the local Scholarship Board to eligible GCS students graduating high school starting in the Spring 2016 and enrolling in any North Carolina public college or university beginning in the Fall 2016.

For students interested in attending any of the public universities or community colleges in North Carolina, the following has been approved by the Scholarship Board based on continuous enrollment in Guilford County Schools and family income.

*This is the working policy for the 2017-2018 school year. The Scholarship Board will continue to meet to refine policies.

*Students who graduate early and who have been enrolled continuously in Guilford County Schools are still eligible for scholarships.

An example may be helpful to understand how the program is designed. While tuition among the sixteen public North Carolina colleges and universities varies, the average across the system is about $4,500. Using this as an example, for a Say Yes eligible student receiving $3,480 in Federal Pell Grant, state need-based aid, and institutional aid, the Say Yes Scholarship would cover the gap between the total tuition and this aid, which would be $1,020 toward the cost of tuition in this scenario, if he/she meets the continuous enrollment and income criteria referenced above.

TABLE 1:
Full time undergraduate tuition-at a UNC institution $4,500
Less awarded pell grant, state, and institutional gift aid $3,480
Remaining tuition $1,020
Say Yes Scholarship $1,020

Students and families would still be responsible for the cost of fees, room and board, books, and other costs of attendance.

Say Yes Opportunity Grant

If a student wants to attend any North Carolina public two or four-year college or university and they receive the maximum amount of Pell Grant funding (covering their tuition cost) they can receive a Say Yes Opportunity Grant. Opportunity Grants are $350 for all students. The grant can be applied to room/board and other costs of attendance.

No tuition scholarships will be processed or awarded to students with missing or incomplete financial aid paperwork.

Q: What about private colleges and universities?

A: Eligible GCS graduates enrolled in a GCS school since 9th grade also have access to tuition scholarships at schools within the Say Yes Higher Education Compact. As long as a student is continuously enrolled in GCS from 9-12 grades, they will be processed for the Say Yes Scholarship.

Family Income Requirement – For Private Colleges and Universities

Member institutions in the Compact will typically provide  tuition scholarships (covering tuition and mandatory fees, but not room and board or books), after Federal Pell Grant, state need-based aid and other scholarships are applied, to eligible GCS graduates whose family income is at or below $75,000. Some partner colleges may consider a family’s assets in considering the awarding of Say Yes Scholarships. Some Say Yes private college partners, however, may choose to cover at least a portion of other college expenses.

Please note that some of the private college partners have a higher income cap and we encourage families to contact the school(s) directly.

Say Yes Choice Grant

Eligible students whose family income is above $75,000 may be eligible for Say Yes Choice Grants of up to $5,000 – from the local scholarship fund – to help cover part of the cost of tuition. The Choice Grant, which is provided by the local scholarship fund, is valued at up to $5,000 annually.

GCS graduates must have been enrolled in a GCS school since 9th grade in order to be eligible for a Choice Grant. The Choice Grant, when combined with Pell, state, and institutional aid, cannot exceed the cost of attendance. Similarly, if the school covers tuition for a family whose family income is above $75,000, the student is not eligible for a Choice Grant.

For questions related to how income is calculated, students and parents should contact the particular institutions of interest.

To provide an example, for a Say Yes eligible student with a family income at or below $75,000 receiving $10,940 in Federal Pell Grant, state need-based aid, and institutional gift aid, the Say Yes Scholarship would cover the gap between the total tuition and the gift aid, which would be $18,000 toward the cost of tuition in this scenario (Table 2). This Say Yes Scholarship to attend a Say Yes private college partner institution would be provided directly by the institution.

TABLE 2: Say Yes Private Partner College
Full time undergraduate tuition-full year $28,940
Less awarded Federal Pell Grant, state need-based aid, and institutional gift aid $10,940
Remaining tuition $18,000
Say Yes Compact Award $18,000

Q: How many semesters is Say Yes funding available to each qualified student?

A: The tuition scholarship will be available to full-time students attending a four-year institution for a total of eight semesters over the five years after high school graduation. For students attending a two-year program, the scholarship will be available for a total of four semesters over the three years following high school graduation. A student will still be eligible to receive the Say Yes Scholarship if he or she transitions from a two-year to a four-year college or university, provided it is an in-state public institution or a Say Yes Higher Education Compact partner institution.

To remain eligible, students must remain in good academic standing. This means retaining a 2.0 GPA, completing 12 credit hours a semester, and maintaining financial aid eligibility.

Q: How do current GCS High School seniors apply for Say Yes Scholarships?

A: Student’s must complete the Say Yes Certification Form by May 1st of their senior year – though some private colleges and universities in the Say Yes Higher Education Compact prefer that the form be submitted as early in the year as possible. Students must also complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available at https://fafsa.ed.gov, and be deemed eligible to access Federal Aid. (Some private colleges also require the CSS/Student profile.) No tuition scholarships will be processed or awarded to students with missing or incomplete financial aid paperwork.

Q: What should Guilford County High School seniors be doing now?

A: High School seniors should seek out the college and guidance counselors at their high schools for advice on the process of applying to two-year and four-year colleges and universities, as well as other post-secondary institutions. Application deadlines are often on or before January 1st. General information as well as information on particular institutions can also be found on the “Big Future” website of the College Board, as well as in guidebooks like the Fiske Guide to Colleges. Many institutions require standardized tests like the SAT or ACT, though some do not – a list that can be found at www.Fairtest.org. Finally, many colleges and universities accept the Common Application. The College Foundation of North Carolina also provides online resources and guidance for North Carolina students and their families.

Read more about our scholarships here.

Changes to Scholarship Model

In March 2017, the Say Yes Guilford Scholarship Board completed a review of the Say Yes Guilford scholarship model and policies, to read more about this, please click here.

Where We Work

States With Private College Partners

Community Chapters

Cohort Chapters

North Carolina

Maine

  • Bates College
  • Bowdoin College
    Bowdoin College

    Will consider family and other assets in addition to total family income to determine eligibility for Say Yes Awards. May provide financial aid packages that cover more than just tuition costs – for example, room and board, and/or books. Bowdoin will treat the Say Yes Choice Grant as an outside scholarship that will first be applied to reduce any work in the student’s financial aid package. Contact Bowdoin for details.

  • Colby College

Massachusetts

  • Boston University
    Boston University

    Will consider family and other assets in addition to total family income to determine eligibility for Say Yes Awards.

  • Harvard University
    Harvard University

    May provide financial aid packages that cover more than just tuition costs, for example, room and board, and/or books.  Contact Harvard for details.

  • Lesley University
    Lesley University

    1 Say Yes Scholarship available yearly.  Contact Lesley for details.

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Northeastern University
  • Smith College
  • Springfield College
  • Tufts University
    Tufts University

    Will consider family and other assets in addition to total family income to determine eligibility for Say Yes Awards. Contact Tufts for details.

  • Wellesley College
    Wellesley College

    May provide financial aid packages that cover more than just tuition costs – for example, room and board, and/or books. Will consider family and other assets in addition to total family income to determine eligibility for Say Yes Awards. Contact Wellesley for details.

  • Williams College

Pennsylvania

  • Bucknell University
    Bucknell University

    Will consider family and other assets in addition to total family income to determine eligibility for Say Yes Awards. Contact Bucknell University for more information.

  • Drexel University
    Drexel University

    5 Say Yes Scholarships available yearly. Contact Drexel for details.

  • Franklin & Marshall College
    Franklin & Marshall College

    Will consider family and other assets in addition to total family income to determine eligibility for Say Yes Awards. May provide financial aid packages that cover more than just tuition costs – for example, room and board, and/or books. Contact Franklin & Marshall for details.

  • Lehigh University
  • Lycoming College
    Lycoming College

    Will consider family assets in addition to total family income to determine eligibility for Say Yes Awards. Contact Lycoming for details.

  • Muhlenberg College
  • Swarthmore College
    Swarthmore College

    May provide financial aid packages that cover more than just tuition costs, for example, room and board, and/or books.  Swarthmore will consider family assets in addition to total family income to determine eligibility for Say Yes Awards.  Contact Swarthmore for details.

  • University of Pennsylvania

California

Minnesota

  • Carleton College
    Carleton College

    May provide financial aid packages that cover more than just tuition costs – for example, room and board, and/or books. Will consider family and other assets in addition to total family income to determine eligibility for Say Yes Awards. Contact Carleton for details.

New York

Colorado

  • Colorado College
    Colorado College

    Will consider family and other assets in addition to total family income to determine eligibility for Say Yes Awards. May provide financial aid packages that cover more than just tuition costs – for example, room and board, and/or books. Contact Colorado College for details.

New Hampshire

  • Dartmouth College
    Dartmouth College

    May provide financial aid packages that cover more than just tuition costs, for example, room and board, and/or books.  Contact Dartmouth for details.

New Jersey

Washington DC

Connecticut

  • Goodwin College
  • Trinity College
  • Wesleyan University
    Wesleyan University

    Will consider family and other assets in addition to total family income to determine eligibility for Say Yes Awards. May provide financial aid packages that cover more than just tuition costs – for example, room and board, and/or books. Contact Wesleyan for details.

  • Yale University

Illinois

Tennessee

  • Rhodes College
    Rhodes College

    May provide financial aid packages that cover more than just tuition costs, for example, room and board, and/or books.  Contact Rhodes for details.

  • Sewanee – University of the South
    Sewanee – University of the South

    May provide financial aid packages that cover more than just tuition costs, for example, room and board, and/or books.  Contact Sewanee for details.

  • Vanderbilt University
    Vanderbilt University

    May provide financial aid packages that cover more than just tuition costs, for example, room and board, and/or books.  Contact Vanderbilt for details.

Texas

  • Rice University
    Rice University

    May provide financial aid packages that cover more than just tuition costs, for example, room and board, and/or books.  Contact Rice for details.

  • Texas Christian University

Contact Us

Are you inspired by the goals and approach of Say Yes Guilford? We invite you to reach out to learn more about how you can get involved.