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Federal Grants Enable VSAC to Continue College Counseling
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Irene Racz, VSAC director of public affairs, 802-542-2240
WINOOSKI — The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) has gone four for four on the federal grants it uses to help pay for career, college, and financial aid counseling services for low-income and other Vermonters.
Following a highly competitive application process that stretched for months, VSAC learned that all four of its federal outreach grants were renewed. Combined, the grants total $38 million:
· Talent Search, part of the federal TRiO programs, was renewed for five years at $2.2 million. Talent Search serves middle school and high school students, their families, and their schools. VSAC has administered this program since its creation in 1969.
· Educational Opportunity Center (EOC), also a TRiO program, was renewed for five years at $2.3 million. EOC, which VSAC has offered since its creation in 1991, serves adults seeking to further their education, change careers, and transition from public assistance.
· GEAR UP, established in 1994 through legislation sponsored by former U.S. Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont, was renewed for seven years at $32 million. Like Talent Search, GEAR UP serves a middle school and high school population, but through a different delivery model and with the promise of college scholarships for students meeting eligibility criteria.
· The College Access Challenge Grant, VSAC’s newest federal funding stream, was renewed for two years at $1.5 million. This grant supports VSAC’s broad-based efforts to increase college aspiration, such as the award-winning Start Where You Are program for teens and the career planning professionals who guide them.
“We know these programs work, because students who participate in them pursue education at higher rates than their peer groups do,” said Don Vickers, VSAC president and CEO. “Unfortunately, there’s a tremendous need for these services in every part of the country, and only so much federal money to go around. Thanks to the support of Vermont’s congressional delegation, we did well in the application process and will be able to continue our important counseling work.”