Scholarships FAQ

Students / Scholarship FAQ

Say Yes Scholarships aren’t designed to cover the full cost of postsecondary education but rather assist in making the process of paying for college feasible. Say Yes Guilford’s Scholarship dollars are strictly to be applied as last dollar tuition payments and therefore are not designed to cover the total cost of postsecondary education.

When will I receive my Fall semester funding and my Spring semester funding?

Payments for the fall semester are made to the colleges after October 15th for students that have completed their Say Yes Guilford registration by June 1st and have completed their University FERPA consent form by August 31st (if applicable).  In the Spring, payments are made to the colleges after March 1st, mirroring the fall semester schedule.

Please note: If you have not completed your FAFSA and your University FERPA consent form (if applicable to your college/university), then your scholarship award from Say Yes may be delayed. Contact the financial aid office at your college/university to make sure these have been completed and that the information has been sent to Say Yes Guilford. In addition, Student grade-point-averages are reviewed every semester and eligibility will be revoked after two consecutive semesters of not meeting Satisfactory Academic Performance (SAP) and/or not obtaining at least twelve (12) credit hours each semester.

Why are the funds sent after the semester starts?

Funds are sent to the college after all financial and academic information is received by Say Yes from the college, given the agreed-upon deadline. Say Yes will verify the student’s enrollment at the college, number of credit hours, and financial information, as reported by the FAFSA,  before any monies are dispersed. Student funds will be sent to colleges directly after our National Office determines eligibility based on the criteria.

Will I have to pay late fees, or will I have a hold placed on my student account because my Say Yes Scholarship is not applied to my account until mid-semester?

Say Yes Guilford works with Colleges and Universities to ask that they waive late fees associated with awaiting the Say Yes Scholarship funds.  If an institution has refused to waive your late fees and the only outstanding amount owed to the college is expected in your Say Yes Scholarship award, please email with details regarding student’s first and last name, date of birth, and the school they attend that has assessed late fees to the account.

Please note, If you have a balance due beyond what the Say Yes Scholarship will cover, then you are responsible for those expenses, and any associated late fees.

I have a bill from the university, what do I do?

Once the Say Yes award for tuition is calculated, we ask schools to place soft holds on student accounts. Depending upon the institution, the parent or guardian may be asked to make the payment and will then be reimbursed through the school once the Say Yes payment is processed. We always ask that parents or students check with the respective financial aid office at their college/university to gain a better understanding of their policies.

Who is eligible to apply for Say Yes Guilford Scholarships?

All students who graduate from Guilford County Public High Schools are invited to apply for Say Yes Guilford Scholarships.

How do I apply for the Say Yes Guilford Scholarship?

Current Guilford County Schools high school seniors may apply for the scholarship by completing the scholarship registration form on this webpage. This simple registration process will take about 4-5 minutes to complete. Please be sure to check & sign the application to ensure that it is completed in its entirety.   Students may complete the Say Yes Scholarship registration beginning October 1st of their senior year and must indicate the school that they will attend by June 1st of their senior year.

What if I transfer from one college to another?

In the case that a student transfers to another college, they must update their Say Yes portal by Feb 1 for the spring semester and June 1st for fall enrollment.

Do I need to apply for the Say Yes Scholarship every year that I am enrolled in college?

No, once you have applied for Say Yes during your senior year and indicated your enrollment in the portal, we will reach out to the institution on your behalf. You may be required to complete a consent form, giving the college permission to share data with Say Yes Guilford annually.

What does “last-dollar tuition scholarship” mean?

For students attending a public two-year or four-year institution in North Carolina, Say Yes Guilford’s 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 based on their financial aid award package for the academic year.

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

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 , state and/or institutional aid  In order to receive a Say Yes Scholarship, eligible students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Say Yes Registration application.

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 2019-2020 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.

How can I calculate my award for a NC Public College/University?

An example may be helpful to understand how the program is designed.

Kennedy is a GCS senior with a family income of $50,000 and has been enrolled in Guilford County since kindergarten. Based on this information, Kennedy is eligible for up to $4,500 toward remaining tuition balance after the Federal Pell grant, state, and institutional aid.

While tuition among the sixteen public North Carolina colleges and universities varies, the average across the system is approximately $4,500 total for a two-semester school year. After being accepted into a four-year NC Public College/ University, Kennedy received her financial aid package. Kennedy received $3,480 in Federal Pell Grant, $1,000 state need-based aid, and $1,480 in institutional aid based on the financial aid package.

In this case, the Say Yes Scholarship would cover the remaining balance of the total tuition, which would equate to $1,020 to be applied toward the total cost of tuition for the academic year.

What if I receive the full Pell grant and it covers the cost of my tuition?

In this case, the student would have received the maximum full Pell grant ($6,195 for the 2019-2020 academic year). This student would then be eligible for the Say Yes Opportunity Grant. The Opportunity Grant is a $350 award ($175 per semester) that can be used to pay for expenses outside of tuition including, room and board, or books. More about the Say Yes Opportunity Grant is included below.

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.

What about private colleges and universities?

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 that features over 100 private university partners.

Families with an income of $75,000 or below are eligible for the full cost of tuition and fees. Families with an income over $75,000 are eligible for up to $5000 in a Choice Grant towards tuition and fees.

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. Please note, some partner colleges may consider a family’s assets in considering the awarding of Say Yes Scholarships. For questions related to how income or awards are calculated, students and parents should contact the institutions of interest.

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 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 institutions of interest.

To provide an example, for a Say Yes eligible student with a family income at or below $75,000 receiving a combined $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 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.

Does the scholarship program consider 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 required 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?

he 2019-20 scholarship program is based on 2017 tax returns. The 2020-2021 scholarship program is based on 2018 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.

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

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

What do current college 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 Scholarship Registration 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.

Can Say Yes funds be used for summer courses?

No. Say Yes funds may only be applied to the fall and spring semesters.