GUIDE

GEAR UP after high school

The GUIDE (Giving Undergraduates Information and Direction in their Education) program supports Vermont State GEAR UP students on their journeys after high school graduation.

If you were you a GEAR UP student in high school, you are automatically enrolled in the GUIDE program upon graduation.

Here's how GUIDE can help:

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GUIDE Passport to Success

Meet with a GUIDE counselor for your GUIDE check-in and earn $300 toward 1st and 2nd semester books. Schedule your meeting now > 

For more information, open your GUIDE passport

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Virtual Counseling 

Schedule a meeting with the first available GUIDE counselor: 

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GUIDE program coordinator Jessica Smith:

smithj@vsac.org

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Tia Stillman:

stillman@vsac.org

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Michelle Legere:

legere@vsac.org

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Liam Danaher:

danaher@vsac.org

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Texting

Text messaging to get help and advice

GUIDE text messaging can provide:

  • helpful reminders.
  • access to a GUIDE counselor to answer your questions.
  • parents/guardians and students with similar reminders and updates to keep everyone on the same page.

“Opt in” and get started:

  • Each high school graduating class has their own text number. Send a message to the phone number that goes with your graduating class year:
    • Grad Year 2019: (802) 230-7971
    • Grad Year 2020: (802) 234-8205
    • Grad Year 2021: (802) 232-3538
  • You’ll be prompted to text your first and last name and your high school. We’ll get you set up from there.

If you aren’t receiving text messages, e-mail Jessica Smith or text the phone number that matches your grad year from high school.

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scholarship

Scholarships 

How do I make sure I’m getting my GEAR UP Scholarship?

As a GEAR UP student, you have access to the GEAR UP Scholarship.

Get step-by-step instructions to check if you’re getting your GEAR UP Scholarship.

If you don’t see your GEAR UP Scholarship, contact Jessica Smith at smithj@vsac.org. She'll be able to help you!

How do I apply to the scholarships in the VSAC scholarships booklet?

Learn how to apply for more than 100 VSAC-assisted scholarships in the VSAC scholarships booklet (and don't forget also to check out all of the private scholarships in the booklet).

Where can I find other scholarships?
  • Bigfuture® by The College Board: Find scholarships, other financial aid, and internships—from more than 2,200 programs, totaling nearly $6 billion.   
  • Fastweb®: Find scholarships that match your strengths, interests, and skills—from more than 1.5 million scholarships, totaling $3.4 billion.    
  • Cappex®: Fill out a free profile to discover which scholarships match you best.   
  • NEFCU nursing and science scholarships: Learn about nursing and STEM (science, technology, engineering & math) scholarships for members of the New England Federal Credit Union.

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navigating bills and financial aid

Navigating Bills & Financial Aid

Filling out your FAFSA and Vermont grant unlocks money for school.

Feeling overwhelmed? We're here to help.

I don't understand my award letters.
  • What does my award letter mean? How much does it actually cost to go to a specific school? This tool walks you through your award letters, helps you compare award letters to determine the best offer, helps you calculate how much you'd have to pay out of pocket for each school, and estimates how much in loans you'd pay upon completion.
  • Am I the only one confused by my award letter?  
  • Visit VSAC's blog post to to hear a student on Vermont Edition talk about understanding her offers.   
Did you know that you can ask your financial aid office for more money?
What should I ask when I call the financial aid office?
  • Can you walk me through my bill?
  • How much do I owe?
  • What other costs are associated with my program (for example, travel, computer, uniforms, equipment, supplies)?
  • Do I need to pay for college health insurance?
I don't understand my bill.
  • Call your financial aid office and ask, "Can you walk me through my bill?"
  • Calendy: Meet with a GEAR UP counselor at VSAC who can help you understand your bill.
  • Ask what other costs are associated with your program (for example, travel, computer, uniforms, equipment, supplies).
  • Ask whether or not you need to pay for college health insurance. If you're already covered, ask whether you can waive the college insurance.
What do I do if I still owe money?
I need to take out a loan. What do I do?

Be an informed consumer. Shop around. Compare interest rates. Here are resources to help you get started:

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FAFSA & VT Grant help

FAFSA & Grant Help 

Filling out your FAFSA and Vermont grant unlocks money for school.

Feeling overwhelmed? We're here to help.

I want FAFSA resources to look at on my own.
I want one-on-one help filling out the FAFSA.
  • Schedule a meeting with a GEAR UP GUIDE counselor for help with your application.
  • Text us to ask a quick question. Each high school graduating class has their own text number. Use the phone number that goes with your graduating class year:
    • Grad Year 2019: (802) 230-7971
    • Grad Year 2020: (802) 234-8205
    • Grad Year 2021: (802) 232-3538
  • Go directly to FAFSA's live chat.

    Scroll until you see the  “I’m a Parent” segment. In the “Contact” section, click “Live Chat.”

  • View VSAC's list of events that provide help.  
I want to fill out the Vermont Grant.

Learn how to apply for a Vermont grant

Watch the first 30 minutes of this video for help filling out the application for a Vermont grant.

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