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VISTA member joins VSAC for college success initiatives

Partnership with Vermont State Colleges will provide mentoring, persistence strategies

WINOOSKI (August 20, 2015) – Vermont Student Assistance Corp. welcomes a new AmeriCorps VISTA member for a year-long partnership with Vermont State Colleges that will bring mentoring and personalized guidance for low-income and first-generation students.

Through VSAC’s grant from GEAR UP, the federal program for college-bound, low-income students, Sarah Dews of Ferrisburgh will work with first-year students at Vermont State Colleges to increase student persistence and success.

Sarah Dews Joins VSAC
Sarah Dews

Dews is a 2015 graduate of Smith College with degrees in sociology and women and gender studies. Her interests include social justice and higher education administration.

“VSAC and students at Vermont State Colleges will truly benefit from the efforts of Sarah,” said Scott Giles, president of VSAC. “Research has shown time and again that college students’ academic confidence and performance see a big bump from these types of personalized actions.”

Yasmine Ziesler, chief academic officer for Vermont State Colleges, said Vermonters will need postsecondary education credentials that prepare them for the jobs of the future.  “This is an exciting opportunity for Vermont State Colleges to partner with VSAC to close the achievement gap and help first-generation and low-income students persist and complete their degrees.”

This VISTA program is made possible through collaboration with Vermont Campus Compact and SerVermont.

Like VSAC, AmeriCorps VISTA program is celebrating 50 years in 2015. VISTA, or Volunteers In Service To America, was founded in 1965 as a national service program to fight poverty in America. In 1993, VISTA was incorporated into the AmeriCorps network of programs.

VISTA members commit to serve full-time for a year at a nonprofit organization or local government agency, working to fight illiteracy, improve health services, create businesses and strengthen community groups. Learn more at


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 Thursday, August 20th, 2015 at 11:04 am and is filed under News & Views, Recommended Reading, VSAC News Releases. Both comments and pings are currently closed.