News & Updates for Education Professionals

Vermont grants

Don't let your Vermont students leave money on the table! Eligible students received from $1,000 to $12,300 in Vermont grants for the 2019–2020 academic year. Encourage your students to:

  • apply for the Vermont grant For those who have applied, check your MyVSAC account to be sure you've completed all steps.
  • complete the FAFSA.
  • research and apply for scholarships.

High schools: Did you know that you can use VSAC's FAFSA Completion Tool to identify students who haven't completed their financial aid applications? Contact our grants department (800-882-4166) to ask us how. 

VSAC-assisted scholarships update

Students and college financial aid offices can now view VSAC scholarship information online through MyVSAC. 

  • Students can submit a Unified Scholarship Application (USA), upload documents, verify required documents received, and view awards and disbursements.
  • College financial aid offices can view awards and disbursements for students attending their schools. 

The deadline to apply for all VSAC-assisted scholarships for the 2020–2021 school year is February 12, 2020. VSAC's scholarships booklet and USA are available online. Printed copies of the booklet have been sent to schools. 

FAFSA completion efforts

FAFSAs filed by Vermont high school students this year dropped by 5 points—even though the senior class increased by 2%. Vermont ranks #36 in completed FAFSAs. Individual school results are mixed: 16 schools had 70% or more seniors completing a FAFSA, up from 13 schools last year, and 26 schools increased their FAFSA completions. But 44 schools had fewer FAFSA completions. Do you have insights or ideas to share? We'd love to hear them. Email Sabina Haskell at haskell@vsac.org.

Don't forget: Be sure to upload your senior list to the FAFSA Completion Tool beginning in October to track your students who need to complete applications. 

How VSAC can help with the FAFSA

  • VSAC'S FACEBOOK LIVE 

    Share the recorded VSAC Facebook Live event held in October. Carrie Harlow, VSAC's very own in-house FAFSA expert, provides question-by-question guidance on how to fill out the FAFSA.  

  • FAFSA FRIDAYS ARE BACK

    Your parents and students can complete the FAFSA at fafsa.gov starting on October 1 for the 2020–2021 school year. If they need help, VSAC is ready: Every Friday in October, November (except the 29), December, and January, parents and students can come to the VSAC Resource Center in Winooski. We'll set them up at a computer and help them complete the application. Encourage them to walk in or call (1-833) 802VSAC for an appointment.

  • VSAC'S FAFSA HELP LINE

    If your families can't get to the VSAC Resource Center, urge them to call our toll-free FAFSA helpline at (1-833) 802VSAC, Monday–Friday, 8:00 am–4:30 pm.

  • FALL FINANCIAL AID FORMS WORKSHOPS AT VERMONT HIGH SCHOOLS

    VSAC's statewide workshops provide families with help in completing the FAFSA. Dates are posted on our calendar (check often, as new locations are often added and dates may change). Please promote your event by posting it on your website and e-mailing senior students and parents two weeks before your scheduled workshop.

Looking for financial aid resources?

We have what you need for your students & parents.

For seniors and parents

Financial aid award notifications and college decisions are approaching. Make sure you've applied for all the financial aid for which you may be eligible, and follow up with any requests.  

  • The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Families can get individual assistance during a phone call or an appointment with a VSAC counselor. Call 833-802-VSAC for details or go to vsac.org/FAFSAfirst.
  • NEED HELP with other financial aid applications? Watch VSAC's Facebook Live event (recorded on December 4) for step-by-step instructions on how to apply for a Vermont state grant and any of the 100+ scholarships that VSAC manages. This is an essential walk-through to receiving more than $25 million in financial aid, and it takes only about an hour to complete both applications!

 

 

VSAC's Educational Opportunity Center—easy as a phone call! 

Do you know any adults who would like to take a step toward new career possibilities and aren’t sure where to begin? VSAC’s EOC services can help. Our counselors understand the needs of adult students and are ready to help individuals take steps in a new direction. All services are free.

Call us toll-free today! 
In the Rutland or Bennington areas: 786-8840
In the Burlington area: 654-3793
In all other areas: toll-free 877-961-4369

VSAC’s research continues to shape higher education policy in Vermont

View the latest reports, county fact sheets, and past survey results >

Facebook Live Event: How to apply for VT state grants & scholarships

DYK that VSAC administers over $25 million in grants and scholarships -- just for Vermonters? We'll show you how to apply for the Vermont State Grant and any of the 150 scholarships we manage. We'll walk you through both applications, question-by-question, in an about an hour. Don't miss out on this crucial financial aid resource! Log on to Facebook on Wednesday, December 4 at 7pm to join us. 

 

Pre-Register Your School for College & Career Pathways 2020

This spring VSAC’s College & Career Pathways will once again be held at four locations around the state and will offer a daytime event for schools, targeted to 10th and 11th graders, and an evening event for families and adult learners. 

Dates:

  • Wed, February 26 – Castleton University 
  • Wed, March 11 – Landmark College
  • Thurs, March 19 – Saint Michael’s College
  • Mon, April 6 – Northern Vermont University-Lyndon (NOTE NEW LOCATION!)

Daytime Field Trip for School Groups 
We expect the daytime portion of these events to reach capacity and recommend pre-registering so that we can hold space for your students. Pre-register here to let us know which event you’d like to attend and approximately how many students you’d like to bring. 

New this year, we’re not asking schools to pre-register students individually. Several weeks in advance of your event, we’ll simply need a list of students you plan to bring. In early January, we’ll follow up with pre-registered schools to provide details and event materials.

Evening Event
In addition to the daytime field trip, we’re seeking your help in getting the word out to parents about the evening event. The evening is designed to engage families, even if the student attended the daytime event. Evening workshops will help families understand the college search & admissions process, financial aid, and ways to manage college costs; and a resource fair will provide parents with a chance to talk with VSAC grant, scholarship, and loan representatives who will be onsite to answer questions. Look for materials in early January to promote the evening portion of the event to your 9th–12th grade families. 


More information on this year’s events, including an overview of the day and planned workshop topics, will be available at vsac.org/ccp in early January.

We welcome input and feedback from schools and stakeholders. Contact Anna Telensky, VSAC GEAR UP Special Events Coordinator, with questions or comments. telensky@vsac.org, 802-542-2229.
 

Request for proposals: college and career event funding opportunity

Applications must be submitted to Kirstin Boehm via email (boehm@vsac.org) by September 30, 2019. 

To support Vermont’s community leaders in developing successful college and career events, Advance Vermont and VSAC have partnered to develop the College and Career Event Planning Toolkit, a guide to planning these events in Vermont, including checklists, tips, templates, and resources.

To bring visibility to the toolkit and encourage communities to apply new thinking to their event planning and delivery, Advance Vermont and VSAC are pleased to announce a Request for Proposals to support College and Career Events. Through generous support from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Advance Vermont and VSAC will award grants of up to $2,000 to regionally based organizations across Vermont to support innovative college and career events in their communities. 

Applications are welcome from agencies of State and local government or nonprofit mission-driven organizations. Applications from individuals will be considered on a case by case basis.

Applications must be submitted to Kirstin Boehm via email (boehm@vsac.org) by September 30, 2019. Applications submitted after this date will not be considered. Questions regarding proposals are welcome and may be directed to Kirstin Boehm via email through September 13, 2019. Notification of funding will be made by October 25, 2019.

Personalized Learning Plans

For 5 years, VSAC subsidized the cost of the Naviance career and college planning platform to help schools implement Personalized Learning Plans (PLP). The 2018–2019 school year was the final year that VSAC provided the subsidy. During the 2019–2020 school year, if you’ve found Naviance to be a useful platform, we hope you’ll consider contracting directly with Hobson’s, Naviance’s parent company, for continued use. Please contact us at naviance@vsac.org.

State and regional news

Study of 2012 Vermont high school grads reports college outcomes, VTDigger.org
“That’s shocking for me. I think we’re in danger of leaving our first-generation students behind, from a post-secondary education perspective,” VSAC research analyst Robert Walsh told Vermont educational leaders at a summit held at the nonprofit’s headquarters in Winooski on Tuesday.

Barriers to completing college, WCAX
Are Vermont students making the grade? A closer look at college graduation rates in our region.

VSAC and AG warn of scammers posing as student loan servicers, Vermont Business Magazine
Attorney General TJ Donovan joined Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) to warn Vermonters about scams involving student loans. Scammers pose as student loan servicers, debt relief companies, document preparation companies or say that you may be eligible for a student loan forgiveness program.

SNHU’s New Program Reimagines the Concept of College, eCampus News
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) is redefining the traditional concept of college as the middle ground between high school and the workplace. In a merger with LRNG, a non-profit that serves disadvantaged youth populations, SNHU will work with cities and employers to develop innovative learning and workforce solutions. 

National news

Opinion: How to Train 2 Million Americans for High-Skilled Jobs for Free, The Hill
The idea of employer-provided training is, of course, not an entirely new concept. Up until the late 1990s, most large employers recruited entry-level talent and trained them throughout the course of their careers.  

Late to Launch: The Post-Collegiate Struggle, New York Times
Despite a low unemployment rate, many young adults lack job prospects that mesh with their idealized vision of the post-college world.

When a College Student Comes Home to Stay, New York Times
Thirty percent of freshmen won’t return for their sophomore year, and the wheels can start to fall off as early as Thanksgiving. What can parents do?