July 29, 2009

Schumer, Gillibrand Secure Key Senate Subcommittee Approval For $300,000 For Syracuse University's "Say Yes" to Education Program

Funding Approved by Senate Labor, Health, and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee

Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced that the Senate Labor, Health, and Human Services and Education (LHHS) Appropriations Subcommittee has approved a total of $300,000 for Syracuse University to continue its "Say Yes to Education Program" to help underprivileged urban youth overcome barriers to college admission. The funding was approved as part of the Senate Appropriation process, and has been included in the Labor, Health and Human Services  and Education Appropriations Bill. The bill was passed out of subcommittee and now will need to be approved by the full Senate Appropriations Committee, after which it will be sent to the Senate floor, and then to the president for signature.

"This funding is critical to the future of thousands of low-income students and families in the Syracuse area," said Schumer. "The Syracuse Say Yes to Education program addresses the major obstacles faced by low-income students by providing them with the support and resources they need to succeed. The program promotes lifelong success for participating students by dramatically increasing both high school and college graduation rates. This is a worthwhile cause and I will fight to see this funding through the appropriations process to ensure the continuation of this valuable program."

"I am so proud that Syracuse will be the first city in the nation to offer a kindergarten-to-high school program promising free college tuition," Senator Gillibrand said. "This spring I saw firsthand the success of the Syracuse Say Yes to Education programs. Where you grow up and how much money you have should not define your potential and opportunity to thrive.  In these trying economic times, our nation and our state cannot afford to lose tomorrow's doctors and scientists and teachers.  Investing in education is one of the most important investments we can make."

Say Yes to Education, Inc. (Say Yes) is a national, non-profit education foundation committed to dramatically increasing high school and college graduation rates for our nation's inner-city youth.

Formed in 2007 by a unique collaboration between Syracuse University, Say Yes to Education Inc. and the Syracuse City School District, the ‘Say Yes' chapter in Syracuse is one of the nation's most successful. Phase I of the multi-year pilot program began in the 2008-09 academic school year in the Corcoran High School quadrant, which contains six elementary schools. About 1,000 elementary students are involved in the extended day program. 200 SU students volunteer as mentors and tutors. The number of social workers has doubled in the Corcoran quadrant. All students graduating from the SCSD will be guaranteed free tuition at any SUNY and CUNY school, as well as 23 private colleges. Phase II will expand the Say Yes program to the Fowler quadrant and into the Corcoran middle schools in the 2009-10 academic year, thereby adding at least 1500 more students to the program.

Now that the bill has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, it will be sent to the full Senate Appropriations Committee. Following approval by the Full Committee and the Senate, the bill will move towards Conference with the House and then to the President for signature.