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Vermonters to attend White House ‘Reach Higher’ summit

VSAC President Scott Giles & Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe to consult on FAFSA completion

WINOOSKI (Oct. 20, 2015) – Scott Giles, president and CEO of Vermont Student Assistance Corp., and Agency of Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe are among national education experts invited to White House’s “Reach Higher” summit on Oct. 21.

The event will bring together education leaders from across the country to discuss strategies and best practices to increase the number of students who complete the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the crucial first step to receiving financial aid. Also attending is Marilyn Cargill, VSAC vice president of financial aid services and research.

The FAFSA is the basis for determining eligibility for federal Pell grants, VSAC’s Vermont State Grant, financial aid from the school that the student attends and for student loans.

“Vermonters know the cost of continuing their education is a big investment in their future,” Giles said. “VSAC’s partnership with high schools has more students completing the FAFSA and receiving more financial aid.” Giles said. “This is particularly important for low-income students and those who are the first in their families to go on to college.”

Nationally, almost 20 percent of students with family incomes low enough to qualify for a Pell Grant never even apply. And many more students who qualify for other types of financial aid are missing out, too, having never submitted their FAFSA, according to the Education Trust.

“Financial aid is a key factor in families’ college decisions,” Holcombe said. “Families need to understand how federal aid can make college and other education after high school both more accessible and more affordable.”

Vermont is one of the states that have participated in the U.S. Department of Education’s FAFSA completion project, providing high schools with current data about students’ FAFSA submissions and completions so that high schools can track their progress and help to ensure that their students complete a FAFSA.

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


This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 20th, 2015 at 10:25 am and is filed under News & Views, Recommended Reading, VSAC News Releases. Both comments and pings are currently closed.