New federal policy interpretation may delay Say Yes tuition aid

Mar 19, 2018

Federal policy changes have put Say Yes to Education scholarships in peril.

“The reinterpretation of existing law upends the practice with little notice for students, institutions and scholarship providers, and has caused mass confusion,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer. "Under the new federal policy, only two private scholarship providers have direct access to financial aid data from the free application for federal student aid.” 

Credit Say Yes

"The scenario we're looking at is accessing student information through the college partners and having them calculate the awards for us and send back what we owe for individual students," said Say Yes Executive Director Rust, "so we'll be reliant on our partners in higher education to tell us what we owe for each of these young folks, as opposed to being able to get the data from the students themselves."

Under the new federal interpretation, only two private scholarship providers - the United Negro College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund - have direct access to financial aid data from the free application for federal student aid (FAFSA). Rust said without direct access to financial aid data, students may see their payments delayed. That means they may have to pay tuition late fees.

Say Yes currently operates in Buffalo and Syracuse and works to increase high school and college graduation rates. Rust said it has helped more than 2,500 Buffalo students to date.