Franklin & Marshall College is one of nine private colleges and universities nationwide forging new partnerships with Say Yes to Higher Education, which helps organize communities around the goals of making higher education accessible and affordable for every public high school graduate.
The other institutions are Colorado, Davidson, Lycoming, Occidental and Pitzer colleges, the University of Southern California, and Stanford and Texas Christian universities.
Say Yes, as the national nonprofit organization is more commonly known, announced the fresh partnership agreements Sept. 19 during the annual conference of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, in Indianapolis. It now counts 69 private colleges and universities as having agreed to ensure that the majority of the students served by the organization -- usually those whose annual family income is at or below $75,000 -- are eligible, at a minimum, to attend tuition-free, subject to the institution's usual admission and financial aid process. The students must also satisfy residency and other requirements in their particular Say Yes community.
Say Yes students whose family income is above $75,000 and who are enrolled in a Compact institution are eligible to receive annual grants from Say Yes of up to $5,000. F&M's Class of 2019, entering next fall, is the first group of students eligible to apply under the new partnership agreement.
"Franklin & Marshall College has a longstanding commitment to ensuring college access to academically talented students from the full American mosaic," said Daniel Lugo, vice president and dean of admission and financial aid at Franklin & Marshall. "Our partnership with Say Yes to Education adds to our overall talent recruitment strategy another important resource to reach students in urban centers who may not have been aware of the possibility and value -- through our generous financial aid offerings -- of an F&M education. We are very excited to become a Say Yes partner school, and together we look forward to fulfilling a promise to academically talented students from under-resourced backgrounds in Say Yes communities that a great college education is both possible and affordable."
Say Yes makes tuition benefits and other support components -- including tutoring, after-school services, counseling and legal assistance -- available to the families of nearly 65,000 students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 in every public school in Buffalo and Syracuse, N.Y. The organization expects to expand to at least one additional city as soon as 2015.
Based in New York City, Say Yes was founded in 1987 by money manager George Weiss. For its first 20 years it offered an array of services -- and ultimately full-tuition college scholarships -- to smaller groups of public school students. While Say Yes adopted a citywide approach in 2008, college scholarships are still available to several hundred students in the organization's earlier chapters in Harlem in New York City, Philadelphia and Hartford, Conn.
In welcoming the new group of higher education partners, Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey, Say Yes president and CEO, noted the broad range of choices that they represent for Say Yes scholars.
"Say Yes wants its students to have access to the enrichment and educational options -- as well as the positive outcomes -- that children and families in more affluent communities demand," she said. "Our generous higher education partners not only offer Say Yes scholars the prospect of affording a high-quality postsecondary education, but also provide the supports that students may need to succeed in graduating, including students from low-income and other backgrounds that have been underrepresented historically on college campuses."
Nearly 4,000 high school graduates have gone off to college with the support of Say Yes since the organization's inception.