GREENSBORO — Graduation from Guilford County Schools this spring came with a new bonus for many students: scholarship money to help bridge the gap between financial aid and the cost of college tuition.
On Monday, the local chapter offering the scholarships — Say Yes Guilford — posted the form for high school seniors interested in the next round of scholarships.
Students can get to the form by going to sayyesguilford.org.
Filling out the form, which requires an account, is a critical step for signing up with Say Yes Guilford. The chapter, part of a larger nonprofit organization, urges all seniors to do it even if they don’t think they want to attend a college or other post-secondary training, since completing the form will leave the door open.
Another important step is filling out an application for federal student aid, which also is online.
On Monday, executive director Mary Vigue and communications director Donnie Turlington talked about the learning experience for their organization, parents, students and colleges for the first round of scholarships.
While they expect some aspects to run smoother next year, they want to tamp down expectations.
Parents and students, they said, need to know if a student qualifies for a “last dollar” scholarship. Say Yes will pay the difference between aid from other sources and the total tuition amount, but not the total cost of attending college. That cost can be significantly higher than just tuition for classes.
Also, payments to the colleges came later than many parents and students expected. The first checks went to colleges at the beginning of September, but many families saw bills from the colleges over the summer that didn’t reflect the Say Yes scholarships.
The schedule for community colleges works differently due to requirements based on credit hours.
Some people, tired of getting bills in the mail, paid the money out of pocket, with plans to get reimbursed by the college once it gets the Say Yes money.
A phase of angst-filled phone calls from parents has now largely ended, Vigue and Turlington said, as the checks have arrived.
“We’ve built into our presentation that we make now, that we say in August, ‘Mom and Dad, you are going to be very nervous,’ ” Turlington said. “ ‘Because you are going to wonder when that Say Yes payment is going to come in.’ ”
He said the organization has preached patience.
“It’s the first year,” Vigue added. “Until you write a check, a lot of families don’t believe.”