News & Updates for Education Professionals

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Vermont grants

Don't let your Vermont students leave money on the table! Encourage your students to do these 3 things:

  • 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 the VSAC 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-asssisted 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 will be available online in September 2019. Printed copies will be sent to schools. 

FAFSA completion

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 who needs to complete applications. 

FAFSA updates

  • 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

    Workshops are being scheduled beginning October 1 to provide families with help in completing the FAFSA. Dates will be posted on our calendar (check often, as new locations are often added). 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. Families can get individual assistance during a phone call or an appointment with a VSAC counselor. Call 833-802-VSAC for more information or go to vsac.org/FAFSAfirst
  • Vermont need-based grants. Plan to apply at vsac.org/grants after October 1, 2019. Eligible students received from $1,000 to $12,300 in aid awards during the 2019–2020 academic year.
  • Scholarships. VSAC administers more than 140 scholarships for Vermont students. The updated booklet for students planning to attend college in 2020–2021 will be available this year in late September. Visit vsac.org/highschool to order a printed copy or view an online copy. Plan to start applying after October 1, 2019, and mark your calendars for the application deadline: February 12, 2020.

 

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.
 

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 >

Register now for VSAC’s fall training at 3 different locations

With the October filing date for the FAFSA, VSAC's annual fall training for high school counselors will be held in late September & October. 

  • Thursday, September 12 in Chester    
  • Monday, September 23 in Fairlee   > Register
  • Wednesday, October 2 in Winooski   > Register

These trainings include:

  • Financial Aid 101: Optional pre-session geared toward professionals who are newer to the field or want a refresher on available programs, timelines, and best ways to advise students and families.
  • VSAC Financial Aid Updates: Important updates and changes to financial aid resources--including the FAFSA, grants, scholarships, and other resources--and updates on key VSAC initiatives to help students, families, and professionals.  

Save the date for College & Career Pathways 2020

VSAC's College & Career Pathways events are tentatively scheduled for:

  • Wednesday, February 26, 2020 @ Castleton University
  • Week of March 9-13 (date TBD), 2020 @ Southern VT location (also TBD)
  • Thursday, March 19, 2020 @ Saint Michael's College
  • Monday, April 6, 2020 @ NVU-Lyndon (note new location)

A daytime component targets 10th and 11th graders, and an evening component for high school students, parents, and adult learners. Look for more information about the event coming soon.

 

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?