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 “last dollar” tuition scholarship to cover the tuition costs that are not covered by Federal Pell Grant and need-based state grant aid or academic 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. There is no family income requirement or cutoff level for the public college/university scholarship.
For students interested in attending any of the public universities or community colleges in North Carolina, the following tiers have been approved by the Scholarship Board based on continuous enrollment in Guilford County Schools.
|Grade entered and continuously enrolled
||% Last Dollar Tuition Scholarship
|7, 8, 9-12
* This is the working policy for the 2016-2017 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 since the sixth grade are still eligible for 100 percent of the last dollar tuition.
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 attended a GCS school continuously since 6th grade. (Table 1).
|Full time undergraduate tuition-at a UNC institution
|Less awarded pell grant, state, and institutional gift aid
|Say Yes to Education Scholarship
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 offered at $1,000 for students who live on campus and $350 for students who live off campus. The grant can be applied to room/board and other costs of attendance.
No “last dollar” 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 “last dollar” tuition scholarships. There is no “tiering system” applicable for scholarships to private colleges and universities. As long as a student is enrolled in GCS from 9-12 grades, they have access to the Say Yes scholarship.
Those scholarships are provided directly by members of the Say Yes National Higher Education Compact, a consortium of private colleges and universities that includes all eight Ivy League institutions, as well as Davidson College, Duke University, Greensboro College, Guilford College, Bennett College, Salem College, Laurel University, Wake Forest University, and High Point University in North Carolina, and institutions in 20 other states and the District of Columbia. (Click here for the full list available of Higher Education Compact Partners.)
Family Income Requirement – For Private Colleges and Universities
Member institutions in the Compact will typically provide “last dollar” 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
|Less awarded Federal Pell Grant, state need-based aid, and institutional gift aid
|Say Yes Compact Award
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 and completing 12 credit hours a semester.
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 “last dollar” 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.