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The Curtis Fund expands scholarship program to cover ‘credentials of value’ training

New program creates pathways to good-paying, skills-based jobs

WINOOSKI (July 31, 2019)— The Curtis Fund, with the help of Vermont Student Assistance Corp., is making new scholarships available to Vermonters who seek short-term training programs to build their job skills.

The scholarships range from $500 to $1,500 for a certificate or credential in a Promising Careers field, as identified by the McClure Foundation and Vermont Department of Labor.

“Not all of us are interested in a traditional, postsecondary education, but the path to a successful career future will need to include some education or training after high school,” said Joe Boutin, president and board chairman of The Curtis Fund. “There are other educational options in addition to college after high school and we, at The Curtis Fund, want to help Vermonters get the education and training they need to thrive.”

In a pilot program launched this year, 16 students were awarded almost $22,000; eight are already working and six others are still in school or decided to continue their studies.

Rebecca Tanner of Lyndonville got her early childhood certification from Community College of Vermont and is now working full time as a certified toddler teacher at NEK Preschool and Childcare Center in Lyndonville. She plans to continue her education to earn an associate degree in early education.

Eden Towers of Morrisville works for Stowe Rescue as an EMT. With a bachelor’s degree in biology from Northern Vermont University-Johnson, she completed her advanced EMT certification in Virginia while working full time as the manager of a coffee shop. Now’s she enrolled at Vermont Technical College in the state’s first paramedic program.

Boutin said Curtis Fund donors stepped up to create this new scholarship opportunity for Vermonters.

“We support those Vermonters, from high school students to adult learners, who have the aptitude and desire to do productive work but are facing barriers to getting an education or training. They might be first in their families to go to college, experiencing income instability or living with a disability. We are determined to help them get started and we know we will be fulfilling the wishes of our founder Emma Eliza Curtis, who wished to support a range of postsecondary education, not just college.”

Emma Eliza Curtis, a doctor’s wife who had no children of her own, had the belief that education could change the course of a person’s life. When she died in 1910, she left $120,000 in trust to provide financial assistance to young Vermont men and women to pursue a postsecondary education. Since then, that endowment has grown to over $30 million. Mrs. Curtis’s legacy lives on in the lives of over 10,000 Vermonters who have realized their dreams of a better future.

“For over two decades, VSAC has had honor of working with The Curtis Fund in awarding these scholarships and it is humbling each year to see and celebrate their accomplishments,” said Scott Giles, president and CEO. “These scholarships help Vermonters break the poverty cycle and receive the education and training they need to thrive economically, emotionally, and socially.”

To learn about applying for a Curtis Fund scholarship, contact VSAC’s Educational Opportunity Center by calling 877-961-4369 to schedule an appointment with one of the EOC counselors.


About The Curtis Fund

Due to the foresight of an extraordinary woman, The Curtis Fund has been providing scholarship aid to Vermont men and women for over 107 years. Over its history, the Fund has grown to over $30 million, annually granting $1.4 to $1.75 million in scholarships to income-eligible candidates. Most of the grantees are also first-generation college students. We seek to ensure that every Vermonter has a chance to obtain the education they need, regardless of family background, income level, or birthplace. In late 2018, the Curtis Fund became a supporting organization at the Vermont Community Foundation, joining a family of funders that includes others dedicated to helping every Vermonter access the education he or she needs and breaking the poverty cycle by building better lives. Visit to learn more about the Community Foundation and its work. 


About VSAC – Changing Lives through Education and Training since 1965

Vermont Student Assistance Corporation is a public, nonprofit agency established by the Vermont Legislature in 1965 to help Vermonters achieve their education and training goals after high school. VSAC serves students and their families in grades 7-12, as well as adults returning to school, by providing education and career planning services, need-based grants, scholarships and education loans. VSAC has awarded more than $600 million in grants and scholarships for Vermont students, and also administers Vermont’s 529 college savings plan. Share your VSAC story by email to or submit a video to YouTube. Find us at or check in on Facebook and Twitter. #changing lives