Say Yes Guilford announces revised scholarship policies

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Members of Say Yes to Education Guilford laid out new policies Thursday, explaining which students will get scholarships and how much they get.

"These are very hard conversations," said Chuck Cornelio, chairman of Say Yes Guilford’s scholarship board.

From now on, family income will determine how much money students will receive in Say Yes scholarships.

The higher the income, the less the student gets.

Last year, income wasn't a factor.

"We're doing our best to keep in as many kids as we can," Cornelio said.

Cornelio says the program spent more than it budgeted for in its first year.

The program expected to give out $1 million in scholarships.

Instead it gave away nearly $6 million.

Cornelio says making changes is the only way to keep the program going.

"It's never comfortable,” Cornelio said. “It's not good to give somebody something that they think they're going to get for three more years then pull it away from them."

Under the new criteria, students with an annual family income of $40,000 or less will get 100 percent of the scholarship, if they’ve been enrolled in Guilford County since ninth grade.

Students with whose families make $40,000 to $75,000 will get up to $4,500 a year, if they’ve been enrolled in Guilford County Schools since sixth grade.

Students whose families make $75,001 to $100,000 will get up to $2,250 a year, if they’ve been enrolled in Guilford County Schools since fourth grade.

Students whose families make more than $100,000 a year won't be eligible.

"We're trying to stay as true to the program’s principles as much as we can, to aim as much money as we can to the families that really need it," Cornelio said.

Some parents that spoke with FOX8 support the changes.

"Families that have more money than middle class or lower income families shouldn't get it as easy as struggling middle class or lower class families because it's harder," said Tabitha Allen, a parent.

"I'm one of those people that need that extra help for kids to go to college, so I think that's good,” said Edwina Perrent, a parent. “They need to do that."

The changes will impact students who received Say Yes scholarships last year.

Starting in April, the program will host 13 information sessions at different Guilford County schools explaining the changes.