Press Release



May 4, 2016

Buffalo Public Schools Contact: Elena Cala, 716-254-1250

Say Yes Contact: Daphne Inman, 716-247-5310


First-to-second year persistence rates for the first class of Say Yes Scholars also increased

Buffalo, NY – Sixty-seven percent of Buffalo Public School (BPS) graduates from the class of 2015 enrolled in two- or four-year colleges this past fall, a rate that is higher than matriculation averages for those from similar districts, which averaged 53% in 2014.  (2015 national data is not yet available).  Persistence data released from the first class of Buffalo students to receive Say Yes Buffalo scholarships showed 74% percent of the students from the class of 2013 persisted from their first-to-second year of college, an increase of two percentage-points from the previous class.

The figures from the National Student Clearinghouse were released today at the Say Yes Buffalo Community Leadership Council meeting by Dr. Kriner Cash, Superintendent of the Buffalo Public Schools, and David Rust, Executive Director of Say Yes Buffalo.

The source of the matriculation and persistence data is the National Student Clearinghouse, a respected educational research organization that analyzes enrollment data from more than 3,500 colleges and universities.

“The Say Yes Buffalo partnership has provided our students with a reason to work hard and graduate from high school, with the promise of a college tuition scholarship,” said Dr. Kriner Cash, Superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools.  “I am confident that the college matriculation rates of our students will continue to increase as the district begins to implement a New Education Bargain that guarantees pathways to opportunity that will lead to achievement and success in exchange for hard work, commitment, and collaboration of our students and parents.”

Additional data released at the Say Yes Buffalo Community Leadership Council meeting include:

  • The matriculation rate of 67% for the Class of 2015 is a two percentage-point increase from the previous year (65%) and a ten percentage-point increase since 2012 (57%) the year prior to when Say Yes first began offering scholarships.
  • Updated matriculation data now available for the Class of 2014 show a five percentage-point increase, from 65% at this time last year to 69% currently; the increase resulted from additional students from the class of 2014 enrolling in the spring 2015 semester.
  • There are 1,996 Buffalo public and charter school graduates from the classes of 2013, 2014 and 2015 currently enrolled in college who received support services in high school, assistance to apply for college and/or scholarship aid from Say Yes Buffalo.
  • To-date the Say Yes Buffalo Scholarship Fund has spent $4.8 million on scholarships; that money helped leverage $48.8 million in additional aid from federal state and private institutional sources to support Say Yes Buffalo scholars.
  • More than 250 private donors have committed $25 million to the Say Yes Buffalo Scholarship Fund toward a short-term goal of $33 million, which is estimated to cover the scholarships through at least 2023.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a positive trend in the amount of graduates going on to college, and we are confident that we will continue to see increases,” said David Rust, Executive Director of Say Yes Buffalo.  “Through Dr. Cash’s New Education Bargain, Buffalo Public Schools are implementing new strategies that are addressing the needs of students starting with early elementary education through high school, that will provide a holistic approach to education.  The new approach includes embracing community partners like Say Yes Buffalo and our scholarships, programs and services that are in place to address the non-academic barriers to student success.”

Say Yes Buffalo is also working to boost the amount of students that return to college year after year through summer programming aimed to prepare students for college life, a mentoring program that matches incoming freshman with a professional to help guide them through the transition to college and a workshop series and summer conference that addresses all facets of preparing for college.

To see all data presented at the meeting visit SayYesBuffalo.org.


About The Say Yes Buffalo Partnership

Launched in 2012, the Say Yes Buffalo partnership is a community collaboration dedicated to strengthening the city’s public school system and increasing high school and postsecondary graduation rates.  Comprised of the Buffalo Public School District, City of Buffalo, Erie County, the Buffalo Teachers Federation, the District Parent Coordinating Council and more than one-hundred other funders and community-based-organizations is made possible by the collaboration and generosity of Western New York individuals, families, businesses and organizations and Say Yes to Education. More information at www.SayYesBuffalo.org.

About the Buffalo Public Schools

The Buffalo School District is the 2nd largest in New York State, serving 34,000 students in nearly 60 facilities.  The district strives to bring exemplary teaching practices and unparalleled opportunities to our diverse student population. Our mission is to ensure that every student will have the confidence, knowledge, thinking skills, character and hope to assume responsibility for her/his life and contribute to the lives of others.  To accomplish this we champion excellence and innovative learning experiences in partnership with family and community, and we hold ourselves accountable for educating our students and for working to energize all members of the community to actively participate in the accomplishment of our mission.

About the Say Yes National organization

Founded in 1987, Say Yes to Education is a nonprofit that partners with communities around the goals of every public school student not only graduating high school – but doing so prepared for a college or other postsecondary education, and with access to resources to make that education affordable. At the heart of Say Yes is a powerful incentive for families and communities: the prospect of a college scholarship, whether to an in-state public institution or one of the more than 100 private colleges and universities in the Say Yes National Higher Education Compact. Say Yes and its partners ensure that students have the support outside the classroom – tutoring; after-school and summer programs; medical care; counseling and legal help – to clear the path to academic achievement. Say Yes works with its community partners to bring together every local stakeholder – city and county government; the school district; parents; teachers; businesses; unions; philanthropic and faith-based organizations; colleges and universities – and arms that coalition with the tools to boost postsecondary participation and success. Those systems and structures enable the work of the local Say Yes partnership to go to scale and be sustained through predictable transitions in leadership, and historically unpredictable funding from state and local sources. The organization’s support services are available to nearly 140,000 public school students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Most are in communitywide chapters in Syracuse (a pilot that began in 2008) and Buffalo (2012), as well as Guilford County (Greensboro-High Point), North Carolina (2015). Say Yes, which has already begun the search for its fourth community chapter, has smaller chapters in Harlem in New York City and Philadelphia. For more information, visit www.SayYestoEducation.org




Contact Us

Are you inspired by the goals and approach of Say Yes? We invite you to reach out to the Say Yes National office or to a Say Yes chapter, to learn more about how you can get involved.