GREENSBORO, NC – In 2015, Say Yes to Education, a non-profit education organization, started a local chapter in Guilford County. Millions of dollars for scholarships were raised and Guilford County beat out over two dozen cities to get the partnership with the New York based organization.
However, like anything new, there will (and has been) lows and highs before the program can level out. One extreme low, when many students lost their scholarships or eligibility after Say Yes miscalculated and spent six times the expected total on scholarships in 2016. At the time, a spokesperson said the organization underestimated the actual amount per student.
And as it turns out, if a student is getting a scholarship, it’s not a cut and dry process to get money from the organization.
A viewer reached out to WFMY News 2, wondering “when would Say Yes pay fall tuition.” The message was received during late September, after many universities were already in session. Turns out, some students must pay up front and be reimbursed later.
Donnie Turlington, the newly named Interim Director of Say Yes, told News 2 via email payments start the second to last week in September and the payments continue through the fall.
He then added Say Yes, “We ask schools to place holds on accounts for students, some do and some don't.”
That means those that don’t require the student pay up front and be reimbursed. Turlington said the process is typical, but they still receive calls from nervous students and parents every year.
Does that mean students are blindsided and need to scramble to get money for their tuition? Are students punished for not paying? Does Say Yes make students aware via a contract or some other communication that they may have to pay up front?
Turlington wrote, “There is not a formal contract or any type of transaction between the student and Say Yes. However, it’s part of our dialogue and our public presentations we offer throughout the community and with the students and families on a consistent basis as we suggest to them that they find out what the policies of the university are, to see if they will be required to pay everything up front, and to be sure they stay in contact with Say Yes through this process so that we can assist them.”
So, it’s up to the student to make sure their university will allow them to place a hold on the account. If not, they need to have a plan in place. And to be fair, it is clearly stated on the Say Yes website that some students might have to pay up front.
Turlington said he's not aware that any student must take out a loan to make that first payment for tuition, but he didn't clarify if students are punished for not paying.
To be fair, Say Yes isn't in charge of any university's payment policies and can't make them change the policies.
A few days after our original conversation with Turlington, he informed News 2 his team was looking at ways to "ramp up their payment process, enhance payments and move the process along quicker." He added, he's heard from frustrated students and parents and his team is working on new developments they hope to reveal in the coming days.