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Pursue a career in skilled trades — tuition-free

A new interest-free, forgivable loan pays up to 100% of tuition for training and certification in select high-demand job sectors in Vermont

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Description automatically generatedWINOOSKI, Vt. -- The new Vermont Trades Scholarship Forgivable Loan Program, proposed by Governor Scott to the Vermont Legislature and administered by Vermont Student Assistance Corp. (VSAC), will offer Vermont and non-Vermont residents funding for tuition, initial licensing fees, and exam fees for qualified recipients who enroll in high-need trades training and certificate programs.

 Funding for the $3 million trades scholarship program is part of the $84.5 million comprehensive workforce and economic development initiative signed into law in June by Governor Scott. The bill invests both state and federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to address Vermont’s workforce shortage and provide local businesses and municipalities with resources to grow in the years ahead.

“Investing in the trade has been a top priority for my Administration, and this program will help address some of our state’s biggest challenges. It is an opportunity to change our course for the better, to grow our workforce and support our communities in their continued recovery and revitalization,” said Governor Scott.

The new program, open to Vermont and non-Vermont residents, will help meet the acute need for more trained workers in Vermont in select building, mechanical, industrial, or medical trades; emergency services; energy including clean energy, energy efficiency, or weatherization; transportation; broadband; robotics and other high-demand sectors. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until all funds have been awarded. Programs beginning after Sept. 1 are eligible.

“VSAC knows that the path to meaningful employment for almost every Vermonter will be through education or training beyond high school.  And we know that for many Vermonters, the cost of training and education is the largest barrier to students pursuing their dreams. VSAC is very excited to be able to offer this program so eligible students of all ages can cover the cost of tuition, exams, and licensing for the training they need to pursue the career they want.” said Scott Giles, President and CEO of VSAC.

The funding will be awarded to qualifying applicants with financial needs on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds have been depleted. Applicants must register with the Vermont Department of Labor for the purpose of receiving relevant job referrals, if unemployed.

Awards are in the form of an interest-free loan which is forgiven when the recipient signs a promissory note and completes working in their profession in Vermont for a minimum of one year following licensure or certification completion for each year of funding received.

Additional funding from the historic bill also provides scholarships and forgivable loans for eligible students pursuing careers in critical fields such as early childhood education, nursing, dentistry, mental health care, and more.

The legislature raised the family income eligibility level to $75,000 or less for the popular 802Opportunity program, that in combination with other state and federal financial aid, offers free tuition at Community College of Vermont.  Almost 2,000 students have taken advantage of free tuition at CCV in the first year of 802 Opportunity.

Eligible Vermonters can also use the VSAC Advancement Grant program which provides funding for training in a non-degree program or short-term training program that will enhance job skills to improve their ability to get a job. 

 “These investments in our workforce come at a time when Vermont employers are in desperate need of talent,” said Department of Labor Commissioner Michael Harrington. “This support will allow the Department of Labor to provide much-needed resources and information so employers can better conduct outreach to fill openings, while also developing talent pipelines for sustained internal growth. We look forward to continuing to help connect Vermonters to good jobs and other important workforce development efforts.”

 For details on how to apply, visit or call 888-253-4819.

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 administers Vermont’s 529 college savings plan. Learn more at