VSAC’s ‘My Education Loans’ Guide Helps You Borrow Smart

Written by
Stephen Mease

April 14, 2022


Education Loans Booklet

Thinking about taking out a loan to pay for your studies? You’re not alone: Nearly seven out of 10 Vermont students will take some loans to finance their education expenses. Knowing how to compare loans and costs is essential to making college more affordable. 

Get some loan smarts with VSAC’s “My Education Loans guide,” a concise, no-nonsense handbook that walks you through the whole process, from decoding financial aid offers to understanding types of loans (they are NOT created equal) and what to consider as you choose a loan (and plan for repayment down the road).

VSAC’s goal is to help you know more so you can borrow only what you need and minimize your costs of borrowing. We call it Know More. Borrow Less.

Download the handbook (PDF)  

The guide helps you:

  • Find out how to get financial aid
  • Understand financial aid offers (and how to interpret the differences in each school's offer) 
  • Learn how to apply for grants & scholarships (maximizing this "gift aid" can help reduce the amount you may need to borrow)
  • Navigate the complex variety of education loans (from federal to non-federal or "alternative" or "private" loans)
  • Understand how interest works and how to choose a repayment plan
  • Know what to look for as you compare, then choose, the right loan for your situation
  • Learn about “loan forgiveness” and what it means for you and more!

For most families, loans are an important part of their investment in education and training. The more you know before you borrow, the better positioned you'll be to confidently choose a loan that fits your needs now and for the 10 or 15 years you'll be paying it back. 

Need more help? VSAC is here to help you, whatever your education goals. Talk with one of our financial aid experts at 800-226-1029, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or email info@vsac.org.

For more on financial aid and planning for college or training expenses, see our recorded webinars, presentations, FAFSA support, and other online resources. Learn more, compare, and apply for student and parent loans.

Save the Date: April 26 for VSAC Shows You How: Appeal your financial aid offer

Vermont Student Assistance Corp. is offering a free online webinar on how to appeal your financial aid offer on Tuesday, April 26 at 6 p.m. Students and families can participate via Zoom by registering at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_OV-zLlSgS5CYalX9wZq0Og  or by visiting VSAC’s Facebook page.  The event also will be recorded and available for viewing later.

Appealing financial aid offers for college is not new. Every year, students and families experience unexpected circumstances that impact their original financial aid award package. A loss of a job. An increase in family size. Unanticipated medical expenses and other one-time events.

In this online panel presentation, parents and students will learn what a financial aid appeal is; how the appeal process works; what qualifies as special circumstances; what documentation is needed; and how to present a compelling request. Bring your questions and get answers from the experts.

Parents and students will have the opportunity to ask questions during the presentation, which may be addressed during the live broadcast itself, privately during the broadcast, or in a follow-up 1:1 consultation.

Panelists include Marilyn Cargill, Vice President of VSAC’s Financial Aid Services, Research, and Marketing; Marcia Corey, VSAC Manager of Grant and Scholarship Operations; and Gregory J. Davis, Director of Financial Aid, Office of Financial Aid at Champlain College.

Don’t Forget to Claim Your VT529 Vermont Tax Credit

With the 2021 tax deadline approaching on Monday, April 18, it pays to remember that Vermont’s official 529 college savings plan, VHEIP (VT529) is the only 529 plan that qualifies for a Vermont state income tax credit.

A state income tax credit of 10% of the first $2,500 contributed to VHEIP per beneficiary per tax year is available to any Vermont taxpayer (or, in the case of a married couple filing jointly, 10% of the first $5,000 contributed per beneficiary) – a tax credit worth up to $250 per beneficiary ($500 per beneficiary for married couples filing jointly). Gifts made by a Vermont taxpayer to any VHEIP account are also eligible for the credit.

Rollovers from another state’s 529 plan into VHEIP are also eligible for the tax credit on the contributions portion of the rollover (not on the earnings portion). The funds must remain in VHEIP for the remainder of the tax year to claim the tax credit.

For details and examples, including information on non-qualified withdrawals, see the Vermont Department of Taxes Technical Bulletin (TB-66). Learn how to claim the Vermont income tax credit.

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. 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.

This story is produced by Vermont Student Assistance Corp., created by the Vermont Legislature in 1965 as a public nonprofit agency, to advocate for Vermont students and their families to ensure that they achieve their education goals. Our vision is to create opportunities for all Vermont students, but particularly for those—of any age—who believe that the doors to higher education are closed to them. We begin by helping families save for education with Vermont’s state-sponsored 529 savings program. To help Vermonters plan and pay for college or career training, our counselors work with students in nearly every Vermont middle school and high school, and again as adults. Our grant and scholarship programs attract national recognition, and our loan programs and loan forgiveness programs are saving Vermont families thousands of dollars in interest.