Colleges President Mark D. Gearan was at Syracuse University on Wednesday morning (Sept. 9) for the meeting of the White House Task Force on Middle Class Families, chaired by Vice President of the United States Joseph R. Biden Jr. The Vice President was joined by Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Chancellor of Syracuse Univresity Nancy Cantor and other leading higher education experts for a discussion on college access and affordability.
Syracuse was chosen to host the meeting in part for the University’s and the Syracuse community’s collective work on the Syracuse Say Yes to Education initiative. Hobart and William Smith Colleges participate in Say Yes to Education and admitted five students via the program this semester.
Syracuse University, Say Yes to Education Inc. (Say Yes) and the Syracuse City School District (SCSD) have joined forces to develop and launch the unprecedented Syracuse Say Yes to Education Program.
For more than 20 years, Say Yes has worked to demonstrate that the persistent and well-documented “achievement gap” between urban and suburban kids is not an accurate measure of students’ abilities or potential but is an “opportunity” or “access” gap. Say Yes has successfully bridged this gap at the level of a single school by implementing comprehensive and integrated support systems that address four major types of obstacles to post-secondary access for low-income students: academic, social-emotional, health and financial. Now the Syracuse Say Yes to Education program is bringing this success to an entire school district-the first program of this scale in the nation.
At the heart of this pioneering program are two core components: 1) a K-12 comprehensive support program aligned with the key barriers to college access, and 2) the promise of free tuition, fees and books for all participants. Any SCSD student is eligible to participate in the Say Yes program as long as he/she completes high school and meets college entrance requirements.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges are part of a partnership of 23 visionary private colleges and universities in the Northeast that have committed their support to Syracuse Say Yes with the offer of free college tuition. Graduating high school students may attend these institutions, along with any SUNY or CUNY college or university.