Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions about Say Yes Syracuse’s scholarship program.

Common Questions

1. What is the Syracuse Say Yes to Education Tuition Scholarship?

Students who qualify for the Syracuse Say Yes Tuition Scholarship program receive a guarantee that if they enroll at a Say Yes participating college in the SUNY/CUNY system and do not receive the full cost of tuition from state, federal, and/or institutional grants and scholarships, Say Yes will provide a grant for the remaining tuition balance. The Say Yes Tuition Scholarship is available to all students, regardless of family income, at SUNY and CUNY colleges.

Most Say Yes partner private colleges guarantee full tuition to students from families with incomes of less than $75,000. Please note that tuition does NOT include room, board, fees, books or supplies. The Say Yes Tuition Scholarship ONLY supports tuition, not these other costs.

2. Who is eligible for a Syracuse Say Yes Tuition Scholarship?

To be eligible for the Syracuse Say Yes Tuition Scholarship, a student must meet the following qualifications:

  1. Reside in Syracuse.
  2. Complete grades 10 – 12 in a Syracuse City School District or Syracuse charter high school or 9 through 11 for early graduates. With proper documentation, the following students are automatically deemed eligible regardless of consecutive years of school completion:
    • Have refugee status on an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or be an otherwise eligible noncitizen.
    • Legally designated as having McKinney-Vento status.
    • Have documented Foster Care placement or are a ward of the court.
  3. Have graduated from a Syracuse City School District high school or Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School.
  4. Enroll full-time at a Say Yes Syracuse partner college or university skipping not more than one fall after high school graduation.
    • Students with a documented 504 Plan and IEP status: Contact the Say Yes Syracuse office for further information regarding eligibility and requirements.
  5. Complete and remain eligible for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), and New York State TAP (Tuition Assistance Program).

You can be considered for eligibility if you do not meet the above eligibility criteria and you have extenuating circumstances. If you do not meet the above eligibility criteria and you would like to be considered for a tuition scholarship you can appeal your eligibility by clicking here. You can also contact Dana Lyons-Canty at 315-883-5555 or dlyons@sayyessyracuse.org.

3. How is the Syracuse Say Yes Tuition scholarship calculated?


4. How does a student qualify for the Say Yes Tuition Scholarship?

All students who meet the eligibility criteria stated above automatically qualify; however, they must complete the Say Yes Student Certification Form to be eligible for an award. Students must also keep Say Yes Syracuse informed of any address, email, or phone number changes. This will ensure that the student will receive regular information regarding the program.

If a student has questions regarding their eligibility, they should speak to the guidance counselor at their high school or contact Say Yes Syracuse.

Students who enroll in any State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) are eligible to receive the Say Yes Tuition Scholarship. In addition, more than 100 private colleges and universities participate in the program. Review a complete list of Say Yes partner colleges.

5. Are there any income restrictions for receiving a Say Yes Scholarship?

Students may enroll in most of the campuses of the State University of New York (SUNY) or the City University of New York (CUNY) system and be guaranteed that their tuition will be paid for by scholarships and/or grants regardless of family income. The majority of the Say Yes partner private colleges limit the full tuition guarantee to admitted students with family incomes less than $75,000 per year. However, Syracuse University and Cooper Union do not have income restrictions. Students whose family incomes are greater than $75,000 per year may be eligible for the Say Yes Choice Grant.

6. What does a student need to do to remain eligible for a Say Yes Scholarship once they are admitted to college?

Students will need to apply for financial aid (FAFSA & TAP) each year prior to attending college and complete the financial aid (FAFSA & TAP) process at their college. Students must also maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress in accordance with their college’s “Good Standing” status. For Say Yes this is defined as successfully completing a minimum of 12 credit hours for each semester (fall and spring) and maintaining a GPA of 2.0 or better.

7. What happens if a student does not earn the required 12 credit hours and/or does not have a GPA of 2.0 or better?

A student’s academic record will be reviewed at the end of each semester. If a student completes less than 12 credit hours each semester and/or does not have a 2.0 GPA, then they can make up for it by taking additional credits the following fall/spring semester and/or bringing their grade point average up.

If at the end of the following semester the student has not completed the required 12 credit hours (or full time status) and does not have a GPA of 2.0 or better, then the student will not be eligible for a Say Yes Scholarship the following semester and/or year.

Students that do not meet the standards of academic progress at the end of an academic year can enroll over the summer to make up their deficiencies at their own expense. Remember that Say Yes funding is NOT available to students over the summer.

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

Say Yes funding is available for 4 semesters at a community college or 8 semesters at a 4-year college for qualified students. It is highly recommended that students complete at least 15 credit hours a semester in order to earn their degrees during the time requirement of Say Yes.

9. Can a student take time off between high school and college and remain eligible for a Say Yes Scholarship?

Eligible students who decide not to go to college right after graduation will remain eligible for consideration for a Say Yes Scholarship for one academic year after their high school graduation. Therefore, if a student graduated in June 2020, the student was still eligible if they enrolled in a Say Yes partner college by September 2021.

10. If a student is Say Yes eligible and wishes to transfer to a Say Yes college, what steps do they need to take?

All Say Yes Scholars attending Say Yes partner colleges need to follow the same transfer process as all other college students. For most colleges, the student will find the transfer admissions procedures on the college’s website. Students should review the list on this website of eligible Say Yes partner colleges because not all of the private colleges will provide the Say Yes Tuition Scholarship to transfer students. If a student has questions regarding the transfer process, he/she should call or visit the college’s admissions office. Say Yes students also need to follow the regular financial aid process and meet all of the college’s financial aid deadlines.

Once the student has decided on the college he/she will transfer to, the student needs to update their account or create a new account.

Students MUST complete this step to inform Say Yes Syracuse of their transfer. Say Yes Syracuse will contact the college the student has been accepted to transfer to and determine the student’s Say Yes eligibility with the college.

Can parents of students over the age 18 receive status updates on their children’s applications?

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children’s education records. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. If you are over 18 and would like the status of your application shared with a parent or guardian, you must choose to release the information at the time you apply.

Contact Us

Are you inspired by the goals and approach of Say Yes or have questions about scholarships? We invite you to subscribe to our mailing list, set an appointment, or reach out to and learn more about how you can get involved.

Ahmeed Turner, Executive Director

Dana Lyons-Canty, Officer, Scholarship and Student Support