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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

High School Senior Promised Scholarship Now Told She Doesn’t Qualify

Ynette Lopez, student denied promised scholarship

Broward County, FL — Ynette Lopez, a 17-year old high school senior from Florida, is greatly disappointed after recently being told that she no longer qualifies to receive the college scholarship that she was promised in kindergarten back in 2007.

Lopez was one of the 97 students who were promised tuition costs when she was at Hibiscus Elementary School in Miami Gardens, Florida.

“They stated that each kid would receive $3,000 per year for whatever four-year college or university for Florida only,” Lopez’s mother, Zondra Aimes, told WSVN.

Aimes said that she signed a contract with I Have a Dream Foundation that told her daughter to work extra hard in school to be able to receive the scholarship. Lopez kept that in mind and really took her education seriously.

When Lopez was in middle school, she and her family moved to Broward County. Aimes contacted the foundation to make sure that their transfer would not affect her daughter’s scholarship. The foundation assured her that it was “fine” and that she would just have to keep in contact with them.

However, now that she is a high school senior, she was told that she wasn’t qualified for the promised scholarship. When Aimes reached out to the foundation, two different people told her two different reasons for the disqualifications. One told her that it was due to their transfer, while another said it was because they “did not keep up with the program.”

“Legally, this is really tricky, because the contract is not clear, and there is wiggle room for both sides,” legal expert Howard Finkelstein said upon reading the contract from the I Have a Dream Foundation. “The foundation has a strong argument, because after Ynette moved, she did not go to any of their programs, and Zondra said she only contacted them every year or two. But favoring Ynette is that she got great grades, did volunteer work and became the kind of student the scholarship was created for.”

I Have a Dream Foundation Miami chapter head Stephanie Trump said that 21 kids moved out of the area after the promise, but Lopez was the only one to not get the scholarship. Trump said it was because they haven’t heard from them since they moved in 2014.

Meanwhile, Ynette has been applying for scholarships at different colleges. Aimes is planning to file a lawsuit against the foundation in small claims court, noting that she is willing to compromise. She said, “She participated in at least six years of it, so $1,500 every year instead of $3,000? Something, because she did participate.”

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