By Malniquia Evans and Janiel Thomas
Bengal News Reporters
Students from four West Side schools took advantage of the Say Yes to Education Buffalo’s first scholarship application deadline, April 1.
Students from Hutchinson Central Technical High, Lafayette High, Tapestry and Oracle Charter Schools were among the 1,399 students who completed and submitted applications. Fully, 1,593 students were eligible for the program.
According to David Rust, executive director of Say Yes Buffalo, public school students have embraced the program and many have completed the application.
“We have applications for all but about 100 public school students, which is really exciting,” said Rust.
Say Yes Buffalo allows graduating seniors who attend Buffalo public and charter schools to receive a scholarship, which will cover tuition to attend an accredited university or college. Among the participating colleges are Buffalo State College and D’Youville College.
The requirements to receive the scholarships are to graduate from high school, be accepted into a SUNY/CUNY school or a listed private school and be eligible for financial aid. In addition, the student must enroll full-time at a participating college within one year of their high school graduation.
According to the Say Yes Buffalo website, the tuition scholarship amount is determined by the number of consecutive years a student has attended a Buffalo public or charter school. If a student attends a Buffalo public or charter school from kindergarten through 12th grade, 100 percent of their tuition cost will be covered.
According to Rust, Say Yes scholarships are locally funded.
“So far we’ve had over 70 local donors who give money for the scholarship and we raised over $18.4 million, which is exciting,” said Rust. “Our initial goal is to raise $30 million, which would allow the scholarships to go on for at least 10 years.”