Frequently Asked Questions
What has changed under this new scholarship program?
There are new requirements for in-state public universities and two-year institutions. The requirements include household income, continuous enrollment criteria and tuition caps.
• Eligible students with an annual family income of $40,000 or less will receive 100 percent of the remaining tuition amount, after Pell, state and institutional aid are applied, if they have been continuously enrolled in Guilford County Schools since ninth grade. Eligible students who receive the maximum award through the Federal Pell Grant program will receive a $350 Opportunity Scholarship from the Say Yes Guilford Scholarship Fund.
• Eligible students with an annual family income of $40,001-$75,000 will receive up to $4,500 in tuition assistance toward the remaining tuition amount, after Pell, state and institutional aid are applied, if they have been continuously enrolled in Guilford County Schools since sixth grade.
• Eligible students with an annual family income of $75,001-$100,000 will receive up to $2,250 in tuition assistance toward the remaining tuition amount, after Pell, state and institutional aid are applied if they have been continuously enrolled in Guilford County Schools since fourth grade.
• Students with an annual family income of more than $100,000 are not eligible for Say Yes scholarships to North Carolina public universities or two year colleges.
• This policy will be in effect for all Say Yes Guilford scholars for the 2017-18 college year.
Why does the scholarship model need to be changed?
The fact is, the first year payout for scholarships was $5.85 million. That is $5 million more than was originally projected. The adjustments are designed to bring the total dollar amount of college scholarships awarded to Guilford County Schools high school graduates in line with anticipated fundraising, and to assure that scholarship awards give priority to students and families most in need.
How did this happen?
While local and national leaders worked in good faith to create a scholarship program in the fall of 2015 that would be available to the class of 2016, the Scholarship Board’s review has determined that the current formulas for scholarship awards are not sustainable. The experience of our first year in Guilford has far exceeded our expectations, as more than 2,000 recent Guilford County Schools graduates went off to colleges and other postsecondary programs with scholarships provided by, or arranged through, Say Yes Guilford.
Who is impacted by the changes?
The changes go into effect for the 2017-18 school year and beyond. The policy will be applied to Say Yes Guilford Scholars from the Guilford County Schools classes of 2016 and 2017.
Does the scholarship program take into account multiple children in the family or multiple students in school?
No, Say Yes Guilford does not take that into consideration. Instead, the number of students/family members is captured in the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) via the completed Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is a required document to be eligible to receive Say Yes Guilford funding.
How is family income determined?
Family income is based on the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) listed on a family’s tax return and FAFSA.
What year is the family income based on?
The 2017-18 scholarship program is based on 2015 tax returns.
Are the dollar amounts of the tuition for a full year or per semester?
The dollar amounts are for the full year. Say Yes Guilford makes two payments, one for the fall semester and one for the spring semester.
The Say Yes Guilford online portal indicates I am eligible, what does that mean?
Please note the changes were just announced March 30, it will take time for the portal to represent accurate eligibility based on the new scholarship model.
Why is Say Yes just now making this announcement?
We regret that we are making an announcement this late in the year and we understand that decisions about college choices have been made, or are in the process of being made. However, the Scholarship Board needed time to better understand the issues and review data to determine what caused the problem and establish the proper series of changes designed to bring the total dollar amount of college scholarships awarded to Guilford County Schools high school graduates in line with anticipated fundraising
How does this impact the private schools scholarship program?
The Say Yes Higher Education Compact program that creates opportunities for students to receive scholarship to attend over 100 private universities across the country remains unchanged.
I’ve heard about the Say Yes Postsecondary Planning System, can’t the money from that program be used for scholarships?
The funding for the postsecondary planning system, or 12 launch schools, does not come from the local scholarship endowment. It is a different pot of money and actually cannot be used to pay for scholarships.
Don’t my taxes pay for Say Yes Guilford scholarships?
Say Yes Guilford and the Say Yes Guilford Scholarship Board are nonprofit entities that are completely privately funded. There are no taxpayer dollars invested locally.
You made a public pledge to the students and people of this county to send ALL students to college with last dollar tuition paid for.
We certainly understand your concerns around our commitment to provide opportunities for Guilford County Schools students. However, Say Yes Guilford and the Scholarship Board have long stated that its scholarship model and policies are subject to change from year-to-year. If you have concerns, please email Say Yes Guilford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why don’t students from the class of 2016 get grandfathered in?
Unfortunately, a $5.85 million payout for scholarships on an annual basis is not economically feasible. The Say Yes Guilford Scholarship Board has committed to not spending money it does not have.
What do current students need to do to continue receiving Say Yes funds?
If a student is continuing at the same school there are no additional steps within the Say Yes Portal, however, they must complete the FAFSA each year, register full time and maintain a 2.0 GPA. The Say Yes Certification Form is a one-time completion in the student’s senior year of high school. We just encourage them to keep their school choice and contact information updated in the Say Yes Portal.
Is this why I haven’t received my spring funding?
Payments for the spring semester are still being processed and students in the class of 2016 currently enrolled will continue to have their 2016-17 payments submitted. There will be no change for this current school year.