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AGREEMENT REACHED TO ACCELERATE LOCAL CONTROL OF SAY YES GUILFORD CHAPTER

PRESS RELEASE

No impact on scholarships of 2018 Guilford County High School graduates or

Say Yes Guilford students currently in college

 

GREENSBORO, NC (July 5, 2018) – The Say Yes to Education National organization and Guilford County community leaders have announced that they have reached an agreement to accelerate the timeline for the community to assume local control and ownership of the Say Yes Guilford chapter to this year – approximately two years earlier than originally anticipated.

Under the agreement, students who graduated Guilford County Schools high schools in Spring 2018 will retain their eligibility for Say Yes Scholarships – as will Guilford County high school graduates currently attending colleges or universities with Say Yes Scholarships.

“Say Yes Guilford believes in the four pillars of Say Yes — availability of scholarships, data-driven decision-making, provision of academic and non-academic supports, and shared governance,” said Mindy Oakley, interim chair of the board of Guilford PreK-12, Inc. and executive director of the Armfield Foundation. “We remain indebted to George Weiss for his vision and the inspiration behind the Say Yes effort. Say Yes National recognizes our commitment and agrees that local control and ownership is important as we move forward.”

“By providing access to college or other postsecondary scholarships for students across an entire county, as well as scaling the support services to enable young people to seize that opportunity, Guilford County has become a pioneer nationally,” said Gene Chasin, the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Say Yes to Education national organization. “We heard our local partners’ desire to take control of the governance of Say Yes Guilford on a faster timeline than was anticipated, and we are pleased to have come to an agreement on how to do so in the best interests of the students.”

The agreement will enable Say Yes Guilford scholarships – and services intended to ensure that Guilford County young people are positioned to seize that opportunity – to continue. In particular: the agreement will enable qualifying students graduating from Guilford County Schools through Spring 2023 to have access to Say Yes Scholarships from the more than 100 private colleges and universities in the Say Yes National Higher Education Compact.

Rules governing the awarding of Say Yes Guilford scholarships to North Carolina public colleges and universities will remain at the discretion of Guilford Says Yes to Education, an independent 501(c)(3) that is not an affiliate entity of Say Yes to Education, Inc.

Raising money for the local scholarship fund remains the responsibility of the local community, and local donors. The local community chapter will continue to be known as Say Yes Guilford until at least June 30, 2023, as long as the community adheres to the terms of the agreement.

Guilford Education Alliance will serve as the interim fiscal agent for administrative services under the agreement, while the chapter will be managed by the board of Guilford PreK-12, Inc., a new nonprofit organization consisting of local education, government, business and philanthropic leaders.

The Say Yes National organization will provide financial support for the hiring of a local scholarship coordinator and for scholarship administration for the next five years.

The community’s continued access – beyond the high school graduating class of 2023 (or, to put it another way, beginning with those enrolled in the 7th grade or younger in the Fall of 2018) — to Say Yes Scholarships from the private colleges and universities in the Say Yes National Higher Education Compact will be determined at a later date.

That decision will be based, in part, on the degree to which the community implements academic, health-and-wellness and social-emotional support services – at scale and on a sustainable basis, across the developmental pathway from early childhood to high school graduation.

With more than $40 million pledged and committed to the Say Yes Guilford scholarship fund over its first two years of operation, the chapter has provided approximately $7.1 million in tuition funding to more than 3,000 students from the Guilford County Schools classes of 2016 and 2017. In addition, through concerted efforts to enhance the college-going culture within Guilford County Schools, Say Yes Guilford and the school district have partnered to increase the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by over 14 percent since 2015. The FAFSA helps to connect students-in-need with access to federal and state government funding that helps reduce the costs to attend college.

 

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