Leland & Gray wins FAFSA Completion Challenge

Senior class will receive $1,000 from VSAC for graduation activity

WINOOSKI (May 23, 2017) – The senior class at Leland & Gray Union Middle & High School will have some extra cash to celebrate their high school graduation this year.

That’s because 78 percent of them completed a FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, qualifying Leland & Gray for the FAFSA Completion Challenge, sponsored by Vermont Student Assistance Corp. Every high school that had at least 70 percent of its seniors completing a FAFSA was entered into a drawing for $1,000 for a school-approved senior activity.

Leland & Gray increased its FAFSA completions by 12 percent this year, making it one of the 13 schools that topped 70 percent in completed FAFSAs.

“While we're all very proud of this class and their numerous accomplishments, I am especially thrilled that so many of our students are pursuing postsecondary learning,” said Principal Bob Thibault. “On behalf of the L&G class of 2018, we thank VSAC for the extra funds!”

The FAFSA Completion Challenge is open to all public and private high schools in the state. Governor Phil Scott set a goal of 65 percent for FAFSA completions this year and 29 schools had FAFSA completion rates of 65 percent or better.

Bellows Falls Union High School and the Compass School also made the cut with 65 percent or more of their seniors completing the FAFSA. 

VSAC started the FAFSA Completion Challenge to make sure that all students who plan to continue their education, are considering it, or who should be continuing their studies, file the FAFSA, keeping the door open to education and training opportunities beyond high school.

“We know that too many students decide they can’t afford education or training after high school before they even find out how much aid they will receive,” said Scott Giles, VSAC president and CEO. “Filling out the FAFSA and Vermont State Grant application is the first step in discovering what the real costs of their education will be – not the sticker price.”

Vermonters will need to continue their education after high school if they are to be qualified for the majority of careers in Vermont’s new economy. More than two-thirds of all jobs identified by the Vermont Department of Labor will require some credential of value after high school graduation. There are financial resources available to help Vermonters cover the costs of their education. It begins with the FAFSA.

In Vermont, 45 percent of students do not file FAFSA, according to NerdWallet.com. This means Vermonters lose out on an estimated $4.7 million in federal Pell grants every year, or about $3,600 per eligible student. Students who don’t file a FAFSA also may be missing out on the Vermont State Grant, which on average, offers an additional $1,800 to cover college costs for eligible students.

That’s free money that doesn’t need to be paid back.

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 myVSACstory@vsac.org or submit a video to YouTube. Find us at www.vsac.org or check in on Facebook and Twitter. #changing lives