FAQ

Getting answers to your questions starts here.

We understand how important it is for you to get answers as quickly as possible, so our experienced team has worked hard to compile a comprehensive list of the questions we have heard most frequently from our students and caretakers. Our FAQ page is designed to help answer your questions about school financial aid, family support services, financial aid, family support services, and more.

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General
What are Say Yes Cleveland scholarships? plus

The Say Yes Cleveland scholarship is a tuition gap-closing scholarship available to all eligible CMSD high school graduates who plan on attending an Ohio public four-year university, two-year college, or (Pell-eligible) trade/certificate program. Scholarships from over 100 private colleges in the Say Yes National Higher Education Compact also are available to eligible students.

What is the National Higher Education Compact? plus

The National Higher Education Compact is an agreement between private colleges and universities to ensure that students from Say Yes Cleveland communities whose annual family income is at or below $75,000 are eligible to attend tuition-free, provided they are accepted through the institution’s regular admission process.

What are the goals of the Say Yes Cleveland scholarship? plus

The goals of the Say Yes Cleveland scholarship are to increase education levels of Cleveland residents; boost and retain population in the City of Cleveland; improve college access for middle- and low-income families in Cleveland; and spur economic growth and expansion in Cleveland.

What is the process to apply for the Say Yes Cleveland scholarships? plus
  • In their senior year, CMSD students must create an account and complete the Say Yes Cleveland scholarship Certification Form through the scholarship portal. High school counselors and College Now advisers will be able to assist with this process. For the graduating class of 2023, the online application is available here .
  • Students also must complete the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year.
  • After the student creates their Say Yes Cleveland account, they should indicate their “school interests,” which includes any eligible postsecondary school or program (four-year, two-year or Pell-eligible certificate program) to which they have applied or plan to apply.
  • Once a student decides on the school in which they would like to enroll, they must update their account to reflect choice so payment from Say Yes Cleveland can be processed to the school.
If a scholarship question arises, who should be contacted? plus

Contact the Say Yes Cleveland scholarship Hotline, which is administered by College Now Greater Cleveland.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 216.454.5400

Who is managing the Say Yes Cleveland scholarship program? plus

Say Yes Cleveland Scholarship Inc., a locally led nonprofit, is contracting with College Now Greater Cleveland to manage the scholarship and mentor programs. College Now brings 50 years of experience administering scholarships in Northeast Ohio.

Scholarship Eligibility
Who is eligible for Say Yes Cleveland scholarships? plus

To be eligible for a Say Yes Cleveland scholarship, students must be continuously enrolled in a CMSD high school or partnering charter high school from the 9th grade through graduation, and live continuously within the city of Cleveland or one of the areas served by CMSD from 9th grade through graduation.

How do I find out if I live in a neighborhood that is approved by Say Yes Cleveland? plus

To find out if you live in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, click here to input your address. The results will show your taxing district. If it is CMSD, your household is within the district. Any addresses in the city of Cleveland that are not within the Cleveland Metropolitan School District are still eligible as long as the student is continuously enrolled in a CMSD high school from 9th grade through graduation.

What are the areas outside of the city of Cleveland that may be eligible for the Say Yes Cleveland scholarships? plus

Students who reside in Bratenahl, Linndale, Newburgh Heights, and parts of Brook Park and Garfield Heights assigned to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and who meet enrollment requirements also are eligible.

Are homeless, foster, and refugee students eligible for the Say Yes Cleveland scholarships? plus

Homeless, foster, and documented refugee students may be eligible for Say Yes Cleveland scholarships. Please see your school counselor or the College Now advisor in your high school for more information. You can also send an email or call 216.454.5400.

Are students currently in the 9th, 10th, 11th or 12th grades eligible? plus

Yes. Students in the graduating classes of 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 – who meet the residency requirements as of January 18, 2019 – and are continuously enrolled in a Cleveland Metropolitan School District or eligible partnering charter high school through graduation – will receive the same scholarship as the class of 2023 and subsequent years. Students in earlier high school graduating classes (2018 and earlier) are not eligible.

What schools are considered eligible partnering charter high schools? plus

Horizon Science Academy and Northeast Ohio College Preparatory School are the two partnering charter high schools.

Do students have to meet a minimum GPA or test score? plus

No. All eligible students who graduate from high school and are admitted to an eligible postsecondary school or program (four-year, two-year or Pell-eligible certificate program) can receive a tuition scholarship. But to continue to receive the Say Yes Cleveland scholarship, students must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress as required by federal guidelines throughout their postsecondary education.

Tuition, Fees and Scholarship Payments
How much Say Yes Cleveland scholarship funding am I able to receive for in-state public schools? plus

The total amount of the Say Yes Cleveland Scholarship, which is available for in-state public schools, depends on:

  • Cost of tuition and fees
  • Amount of federal and state grants provided to the student
  • Student’s family income
  • For students whose families’ annual income is $75,000 or less, the scholarship will cover the full difference between the total cost of tuition and standard fees minus the total amount of federal and state grants received by the student

For students whose families’ annual income is above $75,000, the scholarship will cover up to $5,000 each year to help fund the difference between the total cost of tuition and standard fees minus the total amount of federal and state grants received by the student.

How much Say Yes Cleveland scholarship funding am I able to receive for private colleges in the Say Yes National Higher Education Compact? plus

Students from families earning $75,000 or less who attend a school in the Say Yes Higher Education Compact will receive full tuition and standard fees from the college or university.

Students whose families earn $75,000 or more who attend a school in the Say Yes Higher Education Compact will receive a $5,000 Say Yes Cleveland Choice Scholarship from the local scholarship fund.

What does the Say Yes Cleveland scholarship cover and not cover? plus

The Say Yes Cleveland scholarships can only be used for tuition and standard fees. They do NOT cover non-tuition expenses such as room, board, books, etc. Students may be able to use institutional aid and other non-Say Yes Cleveland scholarships for these purposes.

How do I pay for the cost of attendance not covered by the Say Yes Cleveland scholarship? plus

Students can use institutional aid, scholarships, grants, and federal student loans to pay for non-tuition and fees expenses. Say Yes Cleveland encourages students and families to apply for additional scholarships, starting the process early in their high school careers.

If I am notified that I am eligible for a Say Yes Cleveland scholarship when will I receive the scholarship payment? plus

Scholarship payments are made directly to the college or university starting in September/October of the fall semester. Say Yes Cleveland payments are divided into two, with half of the payment being made in the fall for the fall semester and half in the spring for the spring semester.

If I am denied a Say Yes Cleveland scholarship, can I appeal the decision? plus

Yes. Students can submit an appeal if they are identified as ineligible in the Say Yes Scholarship Certification system. The instructions to file an appeal are here.

For High School Seniors After Graduation
Do I need to start my postsecondary education the fall semester after high school graduation to receive the Say Yes Cleveland scholarship? plus

Say Yes Cleveland strongly encourages enrollment in postsecondary education immediately after high school graduation. Eligible students can defer their postsecondary enrollment for up to one year after high school graduation. However, they must indicate that they are deferring and must enroll in postsecondary education by the following year. For example, a member of the graduating class of 2023 who submits a deferral notice must begin his or her postsecondary education no later than fall semester 2024.

How long does my Say Yes Cleveland scholarship eligibility last (i.e., how many semesters and/or years)? plus

Students can receive the Say Yes Cleveland Scholarship up to eight full-time semesters in the fall and spring. Summer semesters are not included. They must use those eight fall or spring semesters of eligibility within five years of beginning their postsecondary education.

Are Say Yes Cleveland scholarships available for students pursuing graduate school degrees? plus

Say Yes Cleveland scholarships are NOT available for students to pursue masters or other post-undergraduate degrees.

What is required to maintain the Say Yes Cleveland scholarship? plus
  • Students must be enrolled full time (at least 12 credit hours per semester) and work with their assigned mentor.
  • Students also must meet the same Satisfactory Academic Progress as required by federal guidelines.
  • Students also must complete the annual free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Do I have to work with an assigned mentor to receive and keep my Say Yes Cleveland scholarship? plus

Yes. All Say Yes Cleveland scholarship students will be assigned a mentor through College Now beginning the fall after their high school graduation. Students must continue working with an assigned mentor throughout their postsecondary education experience.

How do I begin working with my assigned mentor? plus

Say Yes Cleveland scholars must complete mentoring orientation and their online mentee profile form before their high school graduation. Once you visit the profile page, click “Join” then “Mentee” and answer the questions to complete your profile.

Can I transfer to a different postsecondary program and still keep my Say Yes Cleveland scholarship? plus

Students and families need to carefully consider transferring institutions and the implications of the Say Yes Cleveland scholarship. As a first step to ensure that students have a full understanding of their transfer plans and the potential impact to their Say Yes Cleveland scholarship, students need to contact the College Now Say Yes Cleveland scholarship team by email or by calling 216.454.5400.

If a student begins at an Ohio public institution and is receiving a tuition scholarship and transfers to another Ohio public institution, they would still be eligible for a Say Yes Cleveland scholarship but calculated at the new tuition rate.

If a student transfers from an Ohio public institution to a Say Yes Cleveland Compact private institution, however, the student may no longer be eligible for any Say Yes Cleveland scholarship aid.

If a student transfers from a Say Yes National Higher Education Compact private institution to an Ohio public institution, the student will be eligible for the tuition scholarship but the number of eligible semesters of available funding will need to be confirmed.