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Say Yes Guilford Scholarship Update

This page provides recent information about the ongoing review of the Say Yes Guilford scholarship model and policies.

Say Yes Guilford Scholarship Update

Say Yes Guilford is considering making changes to the requirements for scholarships to North Carolina public colleges and universities.

In communities that partner with Say Yes to Education, the independent local Scholarship Board approves the distribution of Say Yes scholarships, and conducts annual reviews of its policies and award formulas. These reviews are undertaken to ensure that the scholarship fund being raised locally has sufficient capacity and resources to serve those students and families who are most in need – and to do so in perpetuity. Those priorities reflect the core mission of the Say Yes to Education organization.

In carefully reviewing its scholarship model and policies, the Say Yes Guilford Scholarship Board is considering revisions to the income qualifications for the scholarships. 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. But to preserve the economic viability of the program, it is apparent that changes will be necessary.

On the scholarship page of the Say Yes Guilford website, the partnership is careful to note that the guidelines listed represent “a working policy” and that “the Scholarship Board will continue to meet to refine policy.”  That said, we understand that changes to our scholarship model will have a significant impact on the decisions that families and students are making about their college choices.   We also understand that the process of planning for a student’s academic pursuits after high school, and how best to pay for it, is a complex and demanding undertaking.  Our pledge to the families of GCS graduates is that we will do everything we can to position Say Yes Guilford to support the dreams and aspirations of as many students as we possibly can.

Understanding the critical timing and planning that goes into making college choices, the Say Yes Guilford Scholarship Board is committed to finalizing and announcing any modifications to its scholarship program by the end of this month.  Students and families with questions and concerns are encouraged to visit the Say Yes Guilford website – www.sayyesguilford.org — for updates, as well as to contact Say Yes Guilford by phone at 336-814-2233 or via email at guilfordscholarship@sayyestoeducation.org.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the scholarship model under review?

  • In communities that partner with Say Yes to Education, the independent local Scholarship Board approves the distribution of Say Yes scholarships, and conducts annual reviews of its policies and award formulas. These reviews are undertaken to ensure that the scholarship fund being raised locally has sufficient capacity and resources to serve those students and families who are most in need – and to do so in perpetuity. Those priorities reflect the core mission of the Say Yes to Education organization.

Why does the scholarship model need to be changed?

  • In carefully reviewing its scholarship model and policies, the Say Yes Guilford Scholarship Board is considering revisions to the income qualifications for the scholarships. The fact is, the first year payout for scholarships exceeds $6 million. That is $5 million more than was originally projected. To preserve the economic viability of the program, it is apparent that changes will be necessary.

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. Unfortunately, the average dollar amount of those scholarships was much higher than originally projected.

What is going to be changed?

  • At this point, full changes have not been determined. Among the primary considerations are income thresholds for the public university model along with revising the continuous enrollment requirements. Once the Scholarship Board finalizes its decision, it will be announced to the community.

Who will be impacted by the changes?

  • The current class of scholarship recipients (the Guilford County Schools class of 2016), along with this year’s class of Guilford County Schools graduates will be impacted by these changes. The class of 2016 will continue to have its freshman year in college covered under the existing model. However, all changes will impact students going to college in the Fall of 2017.

Why is Say Yes just now making this announcement?

  • The Scholarship Board has been working for several weeks to better understand the issues that caused the problem and determine a series of changes designed to make the scholarship program sustainable for future generations. Some of the data needed to clearly identify the unsustainable issues, like information from the National Student Clearinghouse, were not available until recently. While time is of the essence and it’s rather late in the college-going decision process, we do not want to make hasty decisions that will cause further problems with the scholarship.

When will the Scholarship Board announce changes?

  • The Scholarship Board has indicated it plans to announce changes by the end of March.

What should students and families do in the meantime?

  • We understand it is very difficult to wait without knowing the full extent of the changes. In the interim, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 336-814-2233 if you have specific questions or email us at guilfordscholarship@sayyestoeducation.org.

Is the private school program going to be impacted?

  • While all components of the Say Yes scholarship are under review, it is premature at this point to indicate if the Say Yes Higher Education Compact private school program will be changed.

I’ve heard about the Say Yes Guilford “launch” schools, is the funding for that program being taken from 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.

 Aren’t my taxpayer dollars funding Say Yes Guilford’s scholarship?

  • 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.

Will current Say Yes scholars be grandfathered into the program?

  • Details about how the program will impact students are still being determined. However, it is expected the scholarship changes will affect current college students. Any changes are expected to go into effect in the Fall of 2017.

Why are there non-existent details?

  • The Scholarship Board is continuing to meet to review the policies and model. Additional details will be provided as soon as the Scholarship Board makes its final decision.

What do current students need to do to continue receiving Say Yes funds?

  • While funding levels are subject to change pending the outcome of the Scholarship Board review, if a student is continuing at the same school, they must continue to 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.

What is going to happen to payments for the spring 2017 semester?

  • Payments for the spring semester are still being processed and students in the class of 2016 currently enrolled in college will continue to have their 2016-17 payments submitted. There will be no change in funding for this current school year.

Isn’t Say Yes Guilford part of Guilford County Schools?

  • No, Say Yes Guilford is a completely separate entity from Guilford County Schools.

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