Genesee Opportunity offers money to every graduate

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IMAGE / Jenna Robinson
Genesee Opportunity will benefit graduates and their future.

Graduating students can get free money.

Superintendent Patti Yorks said students should sign up for Genesee Opportunity in order to get some cash.

“The (Genesee Opportunity) stipend allows for graduates to pursue a higher education after high school,” Yorks said.

Genesee Opportunity is a program that encourages graduates to “GO learn, GO achieve, and GO beyond” by providing them with a financial jump start for their futures.

The program is a result of Genesee County taxpayers passing a millage on Aug. 2, 2016.

GO will provide a sum of money to graduates pursuing education or training beyond the high school level.

The millage will raise $2.3 million annually to provide the payment of the first year of further education for participants.

Counselor Craig Golembiewski said GO differs from other scholarship programs because the only requirement to receive the scholarship is to graduate high school.

The Genesee Opportunity … is guaranteed post-secondary money for all high school graduates who live in and attend high school in Genesee County.”

— Mr. Craig Golembiewski, counselor

“The Genesee Opportunity is different from other scholarship programs because it is guaranteed post-secondary money for all high school graduates who live in and attend high school in Genesee County,” Golembiewski said.  “In August 2016, Genesee County voters passed a millage to create this stipend, and it officially took effect for Class of 2016 graduates.”

Being a graduate in Genesee County and having a parent or guardian as a resident and taxpayer are the only requirements for the program.

Yorks said GO will not only be good for Kearsley graduates but for all graduates in the area.

“I think GO is beneficial for students, especially since all Genesee County graduates are eligible.”

Graduates are also eligible if they graduate with a high school equivalency certificate (GED), graduate through a special education program, or graduate through a home-schooled program.

The application is available on the website The application process requires the student’s contact information, the school the student graduated from, how long the student attended this Genesee County school, the student’s high school ID number, what year the student graduated or will graduate, and the name of the college or other training program that the student plans on attending.

The four years of high school are separated into eight semesters. If you attend a Genesee County high school for all eight of these semesters you receive 100 percent of the funding. If you only attend for seven semesters you receive 87.5 percent of funding. The fewer of the eight semesters you attend, the less funding you’ll recieve

The funds can be used up to one year after graduation for post-graduation educational tuition.

By next year, the program could be giving eligible students up to $800 through the stipend.

Yorks said the program is designed to last for at least a few decades, helping students in the future.

It’s important for students to sign up. Last year we only had about 20 percent of students sign up.”

— Mrs. Patti Yorks, superintendent

“I do believe this program will grow. Each year the payment will be more and not less than the previous year,” Yorks said. “The program, as of right now, has a commitment of 20 years.”

But Yorks said the most important thing for a graduate to do is to sign up because many students did not take advantage of this money last year.

“It’s important for students to sign up,” she said. “Last year we only had about 20 percent of students sign up. Hopefully, as students are better informed of the program, more will sign up.”