Occidental College has become one of the newest partners of Say Yes to Education, the New York-based nonprofit that seeks to make a college education accessible and affordable for thousands of public school graduates in upstate New York.
In becoming a Say Yes partner, Occidental has agreed to ensure that most of the public high school students served by the organization – usually those whose family income is $75,000 or less – are eligible to attend tuition-free, subject to Oxy’s regular admission and financial aid process.
By joining Stanford University, USC and Pomona, Pitzer and Colorado colleges, Oxy helps to dramatically expand Say Yes’ presence in the western United States. Say Yes students can begin to apply to Occidental this fall for admission to the Class of 2019.
"This is another wonderful opportunity for Oxy to fulfill its mission of excellence and access," says Vince Cuseo, Occidental’s vice president for admission and financial aid. Occidental recently was named by the New York Times as one of the country’s most economically diverse colleges.
Say Yes’ tuition benefits and other support services are available to the families of nearly 65,000 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade in every public school in Buffalo and Syracuse, New York. The organization was founded in 1987 by money manager George Weiss.
At Occidental, more than 22 percent of students are recipients of Pell Grants, the federal grants awarded to low-and moderate-income students. Some 17 percent of Oxy students are the first person in their family to attend college. Overall, students of color make up 42 percent of the Oxy student body.
Oxy’s commitment to access has a long history. It has one of the country’s oldest and most successful Upward Bound programs, which has produced thousands of first-generation college students of color since 1966.