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Prestigious Ivy League schools join growing Say Yes program

Cornell University, Princeton University and Dartmouth College have joined the expanding Say Yes To Education program, which provides high school students a tuition-free path to college.Say Yes founder George Weiss said Wednesday the addition of the Ivy League institutions, along with eight other private college and universities, brings to 54 the number in the Say Yes higher education compact, whose members waive tuition for eligible students. 

Say Yes began by working with small groups of students but has shifted to work with entire cities. In Buffalo and Syracuse, any public or charter school graduate can get a scholarship. 

The Wallace Foundation on Wednesday awarded Say Yes a four-year, $4.5 million grant to support the Buffalo program. The money will be used, in part, to fund after-school and summer learning programs.

Say Yes launched in Buffalo in time for the 2012 school year. The first round of graduating seniors went off to college in recent weeks. Officials said nearly 100 percent of eligible students applied to college through the program. 

The newly added colleges also include Hamilton, Pomona and Rhodes Colleges, Paul Smith's College of the Adirondacks, Vanderbilt, Rice and Denison universities and Sewanee: The University of the South.