Cleveland has hit some of the first benchmarks necessary to eventually become a city chapter of Say Yes to Education, a national organization aimed at focusing on college readiness and affordability.
"The bold promise of Say Yes is to bring together an entire community to ensure each of its children has the opportunity--and the support--to go to college," the city said in a statement. "Using last-in-dollar scholarships as a catalyst, Say Yes partners with communities to create systems intended to help every child progress along the pathway to post-secondary success."
The district and its partners, including the Cleveland Foundation, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, the United Way of Greater Cleveland and College Now of Greater Cleveland, have been working to become affiliated with the organization for more than two years, city officials said.
As part of the process, the group's application has already went through "extensive vetting," along with visits from Say Yes’ team members.
But the deal isn’t official quite yet.
Several steps remain, including figuring out the necessary size of a potential scholarship fund students could tap into, according to a release from Say Yes.
In order for the city to be approved, officials from the nonprofit said CMSD and its partners would be responsible for committing to raising a "signification portion" of that funding.
If Cleveland is eventually selected, Say Yes would provide $15 million to invest over six years.
The money wouldn't go directly to scholarships, but instead would be put towards "student and family supports," like tutoring and social work services.
“Under the Cleveland Plan, CMSD is graduating more students, and students who are better prepared for college; however, the number of Cleveland students enrolling in postsecondary education is declining," district CEO Eric Gordon said in a release. "If we succeed in being selected, Say Yes can help Cleveland reverse that trend through scholarship access and support services students need from kindergarten through 12th grade. The potential of Say Yes provides hope and opportunity for the people of Cleveland to play a significant role in the revitalization of the city and the region.”
The city will continue to work with the organization on the application process over the next 12 to 18 months.