VSAC Scholarship Booklet Puts Vermont Students in Touch with Funding Opportunities

Written by
Stephen Mease

Date
October 26, 2021

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For students who are applying to college this year or who are 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.

A scholarship for almost every niche

There’s a scholarship opportunity for virtually every academic interest. Some of the more common fields include business, technical industries, environmental studies, public safety, health care and education. But there are also some very specific opportunities for interests you may not expect, such as musical performance, ski area management and electrical line work. 

No matter what part of the state you live in, there’s likely to be a scholarship opportunity for residents of your town or county, or graduates of your high school. There’s also a wide range of programs offered to students from certain family backgrounds. Students of color, students who identify as LGBTQ, female students, students with disabilities, students who’ve experienced foster care, and students whose parents work in particular industries — such as farming, retail, public safety and even broadcasting — are eligible for specific programs.

Finally, many scholarships are offered just to first-generation students or students who are the first in their families to go to college. 

Award amounts

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, though there are some notable exceptions:

  • The state’s new medical student loan forgiveness program covers the entire tuition for years 3 and 4 at UVM’s Larner College of Medicine.
  • A forgivable interest-free loan for dental students covers up to $50,000 of dental-school tuition.
  • Under the Cornell Law School Alice J. Rothenberg and J. Stuart Zahinser Scholarship, Chittenden County high school graduates who go on to Cornell Law School are eligible for a scholarship of up to $30,000.

New this year: Focus on diversity and in-demand fields

Those who’ve perused the scholarship booklet in prior years may want to take note of the 12 VSAC-administered scholarship programs that are brand-new for the 2022–2023 academic year.

In terms of geography, there are new scholarships for students from Northfield High School, from Windham and Windsor counties, and from the town of Tunbridge.  

Several new programs support diversity in higher education. The $1,000 VSAC Board of Directors Dennis O’Brien Scholarship is offered to children of recent immigrants to Vermont. The Richard Clark Teacher Diversity Scholarship, which issues awards over multiple years of study, will support up to 3 students of color or new-American students who want to become teachers. The Springfield Equity Scholarship will award up to $4,000 to students of color from the Springfield area. And the Women Thriving Scholarship supports future women leaders who are interested in empowering other young women, improving diversity in leadership, and inspiring positive change in their communities.

The Anderson Scholarship program will select up to 10 students who are pursuing certificates or associate degrees in applied technical fields and whose career interests match up with the state’s most in-demand skills. Awards range from $2,000 to $4,000.

And finally, as mentioned earlier, the new Medical Student Incentive Scholarship and Loan Forgiveness Program covers full tuition for up to 10 students in their third or fourth years of study at the UVM Larner College of Medicine. The purpose of that program is to strengthen Vermont’s primary care workforce pipeline.

Deadlines and requirements

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Description automatically generatedThe application deadline is Feb. 11, 2022, for all VSAC-assisted scholarships, and all those programs require a completed FAFSA and Unified Scholarship Application (USA), plus a general essay. The VSAC booklet covers any 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.

For information on college and career planning and help with financial aid, go to www.vsac.org/FAFSAfirst and check out our online workshops and events. For an update of 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.