Common Questions About our Scholarships

Find answers to commonly asked questions about Say Yes Buffalo’s scholarship program.

Is my child eligible to receive full tuition coverage?

The amount of the Buffalo Say Yes Tuition Scholarship for SUNY/CUNY schools is determined by the number of consecutive years a student has attended a public or charter school in Buffalo. Refer to the chart below to determine tuition eligibility:

Entry grade in Buffalo public or charter school Percent of tuition that scholarship will cover
K 100%
1, 2, 3 95%
4, 5, 6 80%
7, 8, 9 65%

What expenses does the Buffalo Say Yes Tuition Scholarship cover?

This scholarship goes toward tuition only. It does not cover room and board, books and supplies, or fees.

What does “last dollar scholarship” mean?

It means that the Say Yes scholarship will cover the remaining balance of a student’s tuition costs after state, federal, and/or institutional grants and scholarships have been applied.

What are the income requirements for the Buffalo Say Yes Tuition 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 Higher Education Compact private colleges limit the full tuition guarantee to admitted students with family incomes less than $75,000 per year (there are several exceptions—click to see the full list of private college partners and criteria). Students whose family incomes are greater than $75,000 per year may be eligible for the Say Yes Choice Grant.

What is the Say Yes Buffalo Choice Grant?

Students from families with annual income more than $75,000 who are attending a Say Yes Private Compact College may receive the Choice Grant. This grant offers up to $5,000 per year. Awards are determined by the difference between financial aid and the cost of full-time tuition. Choice Grants, when combined with state, federal, and institutional grants and scholarships, are not to exceed the cost of full-time undergraduate tuition.

Does Say Yes offer any scholarships that help cover expenses beyond the cost of tuition (e.g., room and board, books and supplies, fees, etc.)?

Yes. The Opportunity Grant may be awarded to eligible students enrolled at a SUNY or CUNY college who have received the maximum Federal Pell Grant, reside on campus, and have high remaining need for financial aid. This grant offers up to $2,000 per year and can be used toward books, fees, or room and board.

If I am Say Yes eligible, do I still need to pay the tuition deposit at my college?

Yes, tuition deposits are still the responsibly of the student. If a student is eligible to receive a Say Yes tuition scholarship, the amount paid towards the tuition deposit (or a percentage of that amount) will be credited to the student’s account once their Say Yes award has been posted. If the student is eligible for a Pell grant and does not have the funding to pay the deposit, we recommend calling the college to request special consideration for a deferral.

Are students who reside in Buffalo and attend Buffalo private or Catholic schools eligible for the scholarship?

No, only students who attend public or charter schools in Buffalo are eligible.

How is continuous enrollment determined if the student starts in a public or charter school in Buffalo, leaves for a period of time, and then returns to a public or charter school in Buffalo?

The student will be eligible for a Say Yes scholarship based on the date s/he reenrolled in a public or charter school in Buffalo.

If a student enrolls in a public or charter school in Buffalo partway through 9th grade, is that student eligible for a Say Yes Buffalo scholarship?

No. Students need to be continuously enrolled from the very beginning of 9th grade.

Will students who attended a public or charter school in Buffalo and then transferred out of the district prior to high school graduation be eligible for a Say Yes Buffalo scholarship?


If a student is a refugee who enrolled in public or charter schools in Buffalo after the beginning of 9th grade (i.e., does not meet the continuous enrollment requirements), is s/he eligible for a Say Yes scholarship?

Yes. Students who are legally designated as having refugee status are eligible providing they complete a Request for Eligibility Form and furnish proof of I-94.

If a student graduates from high school early, is s/he eligible for a Say Yes scholarship?

Yes, providing the student meets all eligibility requirements, has been continuously enrolled in a public or charter school in Buffalo since at least 9th grade, and graduates in June of 2013 or later.

How do I apply for a Say Yes scholarship?

Click here and follow the steps listed to apply for a Say Yes scholarship.

Do students need to reapply for Say Yes scholarships every year that they are in college?

No, if a student maintains enrollment in the same college s/he does not need to fill out a new Student Certification Form year after year. However, students are responsible for resubmitting their financial aid information every year.

Can I transfer from one Say Yes college to another?

Yes. If a student transfers to a different Say Yes college, s/he will have to complete and submit a new Student Certification Form. Please note that all Say Yes Scholars wishing to transfer from one Say Yes partner college to another must follow the same transfer process as all other college students.

Can I take time off from college and still keep my Say Yes scholarship?

Assuming the student was in good academic standing (see below), and the student meets all other eligibility criteria, the student can take up to one year off of school and still maintain Say Yes eligibility. Students won’t receive funding during the time they aren’t enrolled, but once they return to school, their award is reinstated. Students must inform Say Yes of their plans and any change in enrollment status.

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 each year prior to attending college and complete the financial aid process at their college. Students must also maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress in accordance with the 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.

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 s/he can make up for it by taking additional credits the following fall/spring semester and/or bringing their GPA up.

If at the end of the spring semester the student has not completed the required 24 credit hours and does not have a GPA of 2.0 or better, then the student will not be eligible to renew her/his Say Yes scholarship for the following school year.

Students who 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.

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 four-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 in the time frame supported by Say Yes.

Can Say Yes funds be used for online courses?

Yes, so long as the online courses are taken as part of a student’s regular Fall or Spring semester course-load.

Can Say Yes funds be used for Summer courses?


When will the scholarship funds be available?

Funds are dispersed directly to the college after drop/add day at the beginning of each semester (fall and spring). Say Yes will verify the student’s enrollment at the college before any monies are dispersed.

Is study abroad covered?

Study abroad is covered if the program is administered by the Say Yes school the student is attending. The only costs that are covered are the normal tuition costs for the credits taken abroad. No extraordinary tuition or expenses are covered.

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