Buffalo Students Go To College For Free Come 2013

December 20, 2011 Updated Dec 20, 2011 at 8:03 PM EDT

By Jaclyn Asztalos

December 20, 2011 Updated Dec 20, 2011 at 8:03 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - Buffalo School students cheered and some even had tears in their eyes as Say "Yes" to Education Incorporated announced that these children will have the opportunity to go to college for free come 2013.

"This is an amazing opportunity because most of the time the problem with college is not having enough money so now they are giving us the money for free," student Briana Ponzo said.

Founder of Say Yes George Weiss said students would benefit greatly.

"It's an incredible opportunity to the kids in the City of Buffalo," Weiss said.

Say Yes To Education Incorporated along with other foundations have already raised more than $15 million in scholarships and organizers said their goal is to help an entire generation of students.

"It's a 20 year scholarship pool and that is going to cost about $100 million," CEO of BlueCross Blue Shield Alphonso O'Neil-White said.

To qualify, students must graduate from a Buffalo public or charter school, be a resident of the city and get accepted and enroll in one of the selected college within a year from graduating high school.

"Now there is no excuses for us not to go," Ponzo said.

Students said this opportunity means the world to them but the result will also help the Queen City.

"This will energize the economy of Buffalo. This will say to every young person, every family that there are no barriers. That if you do well in school you won't have to worry about not being able to go to college because through Say Yes every student will have their college education paid for," Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said.