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Cleveland Takes Next Steps to Be Considered for Say Yes to Education

College Now is proud to be part of the exploratory group working to bring Say Yes to Cleveland.

The bold promise of Say Yes is to bring together an entire community to ensure each of its children has the opportunity – and the support – to go to college. Using last-in-dollar scholarships as a catalyst, Say Yes partners with communities to create systems intended to help every child progress along the pathway to post-secondary success.

Partners from the public, philanthropic, non-profit and private sectors are working together over the next 12 to 18 months on the complex path required for consideration by Say Yes.

We’re also glad for the ongoing support and encouragement from the Say Yes team.  As Say Yes COO Eugene Chasin says, “It’s clear to the senior leadership of Say Yes that Cleveland is a community with a fierce desire to give its young people access to higher education, armed with the support to succeed in obtaining a college degree or other postsecondary credential.”

At College Now, we believe that Say Yes would be a game-changer for many of the students we serve, freeing them from much of the worry about how their families will finance the gap between the cost of postsecondary education and what they can afford to pay for it. Additionally, the wraparound services that Say Yes would provide for students will allow them to focus more on academics and give them the tools they need to persist to high school and postsecondary completion.

In the coming months, our work includes:

  • Determining the parameters and criteria to provide last-dollar tuition scholarships to qualifying students admitted to an in-state public college or university
  • Establishing a local fundraising committee and raising a significant portion of the scholarship fund as part of the approval process
  • Identifying the necessary in-school and out-of-school supports and services and related public and philanthropic funding sources to meet the development needs of every child

If Say Yes ultimately approves Cleveland’s application, the organization would commit to invest $15 million in the community over six years, as various milestones are achieved. Those funds are not intended to be used to pay for scholarships. Rather, they would help to finance the scaffolding of a communitywide governance structure to manage the local Say Yes partnership and to seed student and family supports that, in other Say Yes communities, have included school-based social work; mental and physical health services; legal services; college and career counseling; tutoring, and robust after-school and summer enrichment programs.

College Now is a member of the Cleveland exploratory group along with the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Cleveland Foundation, and United Way of Greater Cleveland.