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64% of Say Yes students headed to college last fall

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

New numbers released by Say Yes Buffalo indicate a higher rate of students heading to college. 64 percent of Buffalo Public High School gradates from the class of 2014 enrolled in two and four-year colleges this past fall.

Say Yes executive director David Rust said that number is higher than the national rate of 61 percent.

"This is a big deal because when this partnership launched we were only at 57%. So it shows this investment is working," said Rust.

The number reflects an additional 250 graduate from Buffalo public and charter schools heading to college. The new data was provided by the National Student Clearinghouse and released Wednesday morning to the Say Yes Buffalo Community Leadership Council at Villa Maria College in Cheektowaga.

The city's graduation is up eight percentage points since Say Yes started at 55.5%. But Rust said it is still too low.

"That is nowhere near where we want it to be, but the good news is it is on the rise," said Rust.

Say Yes provides free tuition to eligible students. The program also provides an array of support services for students and families that include social services and mental health.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Say Yes Buffalo Executive Director David Rust discuss the new numbers at a news briefing.

Rust said the next announcement will be a commitment to summer school and eventually afterschool programs.

"The final component is extended learning time, so what we will be announcing soon is a commitment to summer school going forward," stated Rust. "We hope to follow that with afterschool programs."

WBFO'S Focus on Education reporter Eileen Buckley says Say Yes other cities are looking at the lessons of the local program.   Felicia Andrews, traveled from Greensboro, North Carolina where she severs as a Say Yes Ambassador in her community. Greensboro is one of the next potential city’s to provide Say Yes. 
Greensboro community members were also joined representatives from Baltimore. The Baltimore Schools Superintendent also visited Say Yes to learn more about the program.

Additional data released:

• The number of BPS graduates enrolling in two- and four-year institutions from the Class of 2013 increased by 2 percentage points, from 66 percent at this point last year to 68 percent currently

• The national matriculation rate for 2014 was 61 percent  

• Enrollment at four-year institutions remained stable from 2013 to 2014 at 38 percent 

• Enrollment at two-year institutions decreased by 4 percentage points from 30 percent in 2013 to 26 percent in 2014 

• Enrollment at private institutions increased 1 percentage point from 21 percent in 2013 to 22 percent in 2014 

• Enrollment at public institutions decreased by 4 percentage points from 46 percent in 2013 to 42 percent in 2014

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