VSAC study finds 6 in 10 unemployed Vermonters now working after completing non-degree courses

WINOOSKI (January 26, 2017)—Vermont’s landmark non-degree grant program pays off in career opportunities and employment gains, according to a new study from Vermont Student Assistance Corp.

(Watch the Governor’s news conference here and meet some non-degree students.)

Among adult students who were unemployed prior to completing the non-degree course, 61 percent were employed either full time or part time and an additional 10 percent were in school or training programs.

“This is just the type of investment we need to make in Vermont,” said Governor Phil Scott. “It creates real opportunities for Vermonters who need education and training for our new economy and the jobs that are waiting to be filled.”

Governor Scott said these initiatives in postsecondary education and training will grow the workforce and fulfill the needs of Vermont businesses.

Vermont’s non-degree program was the first in the nation when it was created 35 years ago to provide unemployed Vermonters affordable access to training and education that would ultimately lead to good-paying jobs. Demand for the program has doubled in the last decade.

Currently, funding for the non-degree grant program usually runs out mid-year, leaving untold Vermonters unable accomplish their immediate career goals. Last year, over 1,700 students received a non-degree grant averaging $1,800 for their studies.

The VSAC study profiled the typical Vermonter who uses the non-degree grant program: she is 33 years old, lives in a household of two and has an annual income of $20,444.

Of those who responded to the survey, 58 percent were or became employed in the sectors of education and training, health sciences, and human services.

Other findings include:

  • Over 90 percent of students used the non-degree grant to complete education and training programs in Vermont.

  • Over 30 percent of students who used non-degree grant program in the last year said they are now employed full time after being unemployed or only working part-time.

  • Respondents reported increased earnings after completing the course, regardless of their initial employment status.

  • Recipients of the non-degree grant who enrolled in training overwhelmingly felt that the skills they gained in their training would help them in their current or future jobs.

Many survey respondents offered comments on how the non-degree program has helped them:

“Things were very tight financially until I completed my training and got hired at CCTA. We received Section 8, Reach Up and Food Stamps,” wrote one survey respondent.

“I was homeless …; I knew I would need a good career so I turned to VSAC to help in the process. I now work full time 50+, while taking courses at a local college, I also volunteer several days a week at the local homeless shelter and have my own apartment so my son can come visit … the non-degree grant from VSAC helped start a great life while giving back,” another student wrote.

VSAC conducted the study as part of the FY 17 Appropriations Act. Full survey results can be found here.


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

This entry was posted on Friday, January 27th, 2017 at 9:20 am and is filed under News & Views, Recommended Reading, Recommended Viewing, VSAC News Releases. Both comments and pings are currently closed.