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Say Yes response remains strong

Say Yes to Education Cleveland is happy to see that CMSD seniors are still saying yes to their futures during the extended closure of school buildings.

Nearly 70 percent of this year’s seniors have filled out applications for Say Yes scholarships that can make their dreams of college or career training come true.

Sixty-five percent have applied to at least one Say Yes-eligible institution, and more than half have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Both steps are necessary to receive the scholarship.

The percentage of seniors who have applied for the scholarship is down, but that is because members of last year’s graduating class filled them out under supervision in school. The other numbers are ahead of last year’s pace.

“Say Yes Cleveland scholarships helped more than 700 of last year’s CMSD graduates pay for college tuition, and we’re excited that even more of this year’s graduates are completing the steps needed to secure their scholarship for the fall,” said Diane Downing, Say Yes Cleveland executive director. “While many in the Class of 2020 have completed their scholarship steps, there are still many students who haven’t yet. I would urge those students to complete their Say Yes application to confirm their eligibility and make sure they don’t miss out on a chance for a Say Yes scholarship.”

The Say Yes organization and partners are carrying on as well. College Now Greater Cleveland has reached its goal of recruiting more than 1,000 mentors. College Now assigns a mentor to every student who receives a Say Yes or College Now scholarship to help them navigate their postsecondary paths.

Civic leaders hailed Say Yes scholarships as a game changer when the program was introduced last year. The scholarships provide CMSD graduates with the full value of tuition, minus federal and state aid, to all public colleges, universities and Pell-eligible training programs in Ohio and more than 100 private colleges and universities across the country.

Lifted by the first group of Say Yes recipients, the percentage of CMSD graduates enrolling in college increased last fall for the first time in five years.

The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center recently revised data for CMSD’s Class of 2019 to reflect graduates who waited until spring semester to enroll. The update shows that 49 percent of the class enrolled within a year of graduating from high school, an increase of 5 points from the previous year.

For more information on Say Yes to Education, go to SayYesCleveland.org. Seniors can click on Class of 2020 for links to a scholarship tutorial, scholarship application and FAFSA.