VSAC Programs Help You Find the Funds for Your Education

Written by
Stephen Mease

Date
December 27, 2021

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12-30_float.jpgAs the year winds down, everyone has a few items on their to-do list that just didn’t get done. It’s been a busy fall with lots of bumps in the road, especially for high school students working on their plans for graduation and what comes next. 

With the calendar ready to flip to 2022, The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) is ready to help you check off some of those education funding resolutions. VSAC offers a wide range of online resources, counseling, step-by-step assistance, and plenty of encouragement to help you plan for college or training, whether you’re a high school senior or an adult learner ready to update your skills for a new career. 

Here are three ways VSAC can help you keep your resolutions:

Fill out the FAFSA 

The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is a required form that every college-bound student and family must complete to qualify for student loans, federal aid, and scholarships. Signing up begins on October 1 and is ongoing. 

You must fill out a FAFSA form every year that you wish to be considered for financial aid. The first time you fill it out, it may take a little longer — but still, less than an hour. When you complete it again for future years, a lot of the information is saved in the system, so it’s quicker and easier. 

VSAC offers presentations to walk families through the process. Watch our recorded webinars for the FAFSA, grants, and scholarships; view our FAFSA Completion Guide; or contact us for one-on-one help.

A toll-free FAFSA helpline (833-802-8722) is also available for families to call with questions between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. VSAC offers individual Zoom help sessions that families can sign up for on the events page at vsac.org/events

Get a Vermont Grant

Did you know that if you’re a Vermont resident enrolled in or planning to attend college or training in 2022–2023, you may be eligible for one of three Vermont state grants to help pay the way? Last year, VSAC administered $19.4 million in Vermont grants to more than 11,500 students in full-time, part-time, or non-degree study. 

Grants are awarded based on financial need, so you don’t need to pay them back. That’s why they’re often called “gift aid.” But you DO need to apply and do it every year. Because applications are considered on a first-come, first-served basis as long as funding is available, the earlier you apply, the better. 

You can file your Vermont grants application at vsac.org. You’ll need to log into your MyVSAC account (or create an account), then fill out the Vermont grant application.

If you’re applying for the Vermont Incentive or Vermont Part-Time Grant, you’ll also need to submit the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at fafsa.ed.gov. Tip: From the FAFSA confirmation page, you can click to the Vermont grant. FAFSA info will be pulled into the grant application, saving you time and typing.

Find out more about Vermont grants, as well as federal and college grants, at vsac.org/grants. Questions? Email info@vsac.org or call 800-882-4166.

And don’t forget these new opportunities in 2022:

  • The 802 Opportunity grant, providing two years of free tuition at the Community College of Vermont for any Vermonter with a family adjusted gross income of $50,000 or less annually. Get the details >
  • Green Mountain Grad: A gift for VT high school grads of 2020 and 2021, to try one course tuition free at any school in the Vermont State Colleges System. Learn more >

Apply for Scholarships 

For students who are applying to college in 2022 or looking for financial help for ongoing college study or for continuing education, it pays to research scholarship opportunities. The Internet abounds with all manner of scholarships available to students of certain backgrounds or interested in specific career fields, and the search can be overwhelming. 

Every year, VSAC compiles a scholarship booklet of opportunities available only to Vermont residents. Here in our state’s “small pond,” many of those scholarships receive only 100 or so applicants — which means you may have a higher chance of winning a Vermont-specific scholarship than you might if you’re competing nationwide.

This year’s booklet includes information on 126 scholarships administered by VSAC, plus an additional 35 scholarships run by outside organizations. Some scholarships offer one-time awards, while others are renewable, meaning the student can receive additional financial awards for each subsequent year of study. The annual award amounts generally range from $500 to $6,000.

It’s important to remember that the application deadline is coming up soon — Feb. 11, 2022, for all VSAC-assisted scholarships. All of these opportunities require a completed FAFSA and Unified Scholarship Application (USA), plus a general essay. The VSAC booklet covers additional application requirements, such as recommendation letters or transcripts, for each individual scholarship. Deadlines and requirements for the non-VSAC scholarships vary. 

Download the 2022–2023 scholarship booklet, order a printed copy through the mail, or check your school counseling office to see if they’ve ordered copies. Anyone with questions is encouraged to talk with the VSAC outreach counselor at their school, visit vsac.org, email scholarships@vsac.org or call 888-253-4819.

By resolving to get those three tasks off your to-do list, you’ll have a great 2022. Happy New Year!  

For information on college and career planning and help with financial aid, go to vsac.org/FAFSAfirst and check out our online workshops and events. For an update on how we can help with the impact of Covid-19, click here. You can also give us a call at 800-642-3177, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday and online at info@vsac.org.