Rice working with Say Yes To Education to help children in urban school districts pursue college

Rice University is working with the national nonprofit organization Say Yes To Education Inc. to help children in urban school districts pursue a college education.

As a member of the organization’s higher education compact, Rice has agreed to provide substantial financial aid to eligible students from the Say Yes To Education program if they are admitted to Rice. The financial aid would cover the full cost of attendance, including tuition, room and board, meals and textbooks.

All of the private colleges and universities in the Say Yes Higher Education Compact have promised full tuition to accepted Say Yes scholars whose annual family income is $75,000 or less.

Say Yes To Education helps make sure students can afford to go to college. The organization works with elected officials, business leaders, community-based organizations and local universities – as well as students, parents, school administrators and teachers – to help every student graduate from high school and earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree.

In addition to scholarships, Say Yes To Education and its local partners provide an array of services to students and their families that are intended to eliminate obstacles to academic success, including mental health counseling, medical care, academic tutoring and legal assistance.

“Rice University has a socio-economically diverse student body that includes a number of first-generation students, so scholars from the Say Yes To Education program should feel very welcome here,” said Chris Munoz, Rice’s vice president for enrollment. “If these kids work hard, Rice could be be in their future, and we’re going to do our part to help them get here.”

Based in New York City, Say Yes serves nearly 65,000 children in kindergarten through high school at public schools in Buffalo and Syracuse, N.Y., and also is available to groups of students in New York City and Philadelphia. The organization plans to expand nationally in the future. Since 2009, more than 2,100 graduates of Syracuse public high schools have used Say Yes support to attend college.

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.