Northwest Horizons

Say Yes Guilford drops the ball, then the blame

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Say Yes Guilford is dead. The program is bunk and the funds are drying, yet the Say Yes scholarship board maintains an impossibly positive outlook.

What is essentially the purpose of the program has been stripped away; rather than a last dollar tuition payout for all Guilford county high schoolers, this full tuition payout only applies to families making $40,000 yearly or below. Everyone else receives a payout to some degree, but nowhere close to the original amount.

There are two main issues with Say Yes Guilford’s sudden announcement, and they may not be the issues the public has been repeatedly informed about from angry television interviews.

The first, primary issue deals with college students–those already in college, and those who have accepted their applications for this coming semester. Say Yes’s board’s timing was atrocious. Some students have already made their decisions with Say Yes in mind who are now left without options. Other students who are currently in their freshman year must figure out what to do with their funding cut; these students will not be grandfathered into the system.

“I don’t think it’s fair, even if they can afford to pay, they were expecting to get more. Now they’re unprepared to pay all of it,” senior Anna Claire Willey said.

Say Yes Guilford has responded by mentioning that they never promised full tuition for everyone, reiterating their statement that the payments could change on a year-by-year basis. While this is true, it’s entirely unfair to pull money from those who may have even made their college decisions or rejected scholarships based on the now-defunct program.

On a less damaging, though potentially more infuriating note, the Say Yes Guilford spin team has been hard at work. Rather than accepting failure and working to resolve it, the organization has hailed their own “adjustments” as something other than a damaging blow to students.

“The Say Yes scholarship program met and surpassed even our most optimistic expectations in 2016,” Scholarship Board chair Chuck Cornelio said in the board’s statement.

Rather than accepting responsibility for their financial missteps, the Say Yes Guilford Scholarship Board has twisted this situation into a positive one. While their initial statement about the issue included an apology, their more recent update promoted their colossal blunders as a some convoluted success.

“I understand their reasoning,” senior Gary Hull said. “They have to be fiscally responsible, and make sure they don’t make promises to students that they won’t be able to fulfill. But, to be honest, they already have done that.”

It’s too late for this organization to undo the damage they’ve done to students. However, they can alleviate some of the frustrations raised against them though recognition of their missteps, and a continued commitment to helping students.

“On the optimistic side, it is good to see them maintaining their support for lower income families,” Hull said.

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Say Yes Guilford drops the ball, then the blame