Supporting Adult Learners

VSAC helps Vermont adults access learning opportunities

Ready to take the next step in your career? Considering a class, certification, career training, or college program?  Whether you’re starting for the first time, returning to school after a gap, or are an avid lifelong learner, VSAC is here to help. Our TRIO program for adult students (EOC) meets you where you are to provide you with the help you need to take this great next step in life.

Our EOC counselors can help you:

The Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) program at VSAC serves adults who do not yet have a 4-year degree. Most adults served through EOC are the first in their families to go to college and have financial barriers to pursuing their goals beyond high school. VSAC EOC counselors throughout the state help with career exploration, education and training options, and financial aid applications.

Our EOC counselors can help you:

50 ways an EOC counselor can assist you

Career Planning and Decision Making

EOC counselors can help you:

1. Identify your skills and interests
2. Learn where to find information about various careers
3. Use VSAC’s online tools
4. Explore various careers that might fit with who you are
5. Chose a career path that works for you
6. Make a career plan to reach your goals

Education Planning and Decision Making

EOC counselors can help you:

7. Understand the U.S. education system
8. Find a high school completion program
9. Identify education programs available beyond high school 
10. Research short-term training programs
11. Research colleges in Vermont and elsewhere
12. Find English Language Learner programs
13. Choose an education program that moves you ahead on your career path
14. Make an education plan to reach your goals

Ways to Pay for Education and Training

EOC counselors can help you:

15. Open a MyVSAC account and learn how to use it
16. See the big picture about how to pay for education beyond high school
17. Translate financial aid jargon and understand how financial aid  works
18. Understand he hidden rules of financial aid
19. Find & apply scholarships that are available
20. Apply for grants that are available
21. Understand the loans that are available
22. Find alternative ways to pay for training and education

Hands-on Assistance with Completing Financial Aid Applications

EOC counselors can help you with:

23. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
24. VSAC-assisted scholarships
25. Other types of scholarships
26. VSAC part-time or full-time grants
27. VSAC Advancement grants for non-degree programs
28. Education loans

Resolve Past and Present Education Financial Issues

EOC counselors can help you with issues such as:

29. Loan default and rehabilitation
30. Advocating for yourself and appealing your financial aid with your college and VSAC, based on current year income

Apply for Education or Training Programs 

EOC counselors can help you:

31. Understand the various admission processes
32. Complete the admissions application process
33. Receive an admissions fee waiver if you need one
34. Advocate for yourself in the admissions process

Work Effectively with Other Helpful Agencies or Organizations 

EOC counselors can:

35. Refer you to agencies that might help you with planning and financing your education 
36. Consult with staff at other agencies on your behalf
37. Advocate for you and teach you to advocate for yourself when working with other agencies
38. Provide information about free tax preparation services
39. Help you access the earned income tax credit, if possible
40. Support you in completing your Reach Up PSE education plan, if applicable
41. Make connections to help you access your veterans’ benefits, if applicable

Stay in School and Be Successful

EOC counselors can:

42. Nominating you for special VSAC scholarships for EOC participants
43. Connecting you with study skills resources
44. Helping you understand your learning style and how it affects your school performance
45. Facilitating a connection with support services available at your school
46. Advocating for you with schools and training programs
47. Providing ongoing encouragement and support all the way to program completion 

Access Education and Financial Aid Information for your High School Child 

EOC counselors can help you:

48. Connect your child to information about our high school outreach programs
49. Share information about our College Pathways events for high school juniors and seniors
50. Direct you to statewide financial aid forms events

Ready to access these services and more? 

Contact a VSAC EOC team member by calling 877-961-4369.

The first step in getting help is to meet with a counselor. Just call one of the numbers below, Monday through Friday between 8:00 am–4:30 pm, to set up an appointment with a counselor near you:

  • 654-3793 in the Burlington area
  • 786-8840 in the Rutland or Bennington areas
  • 877-961-4369 statewide

There's no charge for this appointment. 

Meet the EOC team

We want to meet you in your local communities. We have strong partnerships with agencies, postsecondary institutions, and community entities who share meeting space in more than 50 locations in 28 communities throughout Vermont. During Covid 19, we continue to meet over the phone and virtually.

This is our team, and here’s where you can find us. We can’t wait to help you!

VT_EOCregions.png

1_circle.png  Karen McGovern, mcgovern@vsac.org
       802-654-3793 / 877-961-4369

2-circle.png  Marti Kingsley, kingsley@vsac.org
       802-654-3793 / 877-961-4369

3-circle.png  Monica Sargent, sargent@vsac.org
       802-654-3793 / 877-961-4369

4_circle.png  Andrea Gould, gould@vsac.org
       802-654-3793 / 877-961-4369

5-circle.png  Martha McCaughin, mccaughin@vsac.org
       802-786-8840 / 877-961-4369

6-circle.png  Stacey King, king@vsac.org
       802-654-3793 / 877-961-4369

7_circle.png  Suzie Wagner, wagner@vsac.org
       802-654-3793 / 877-961-4369

Maria Paquin,
Program Associate, paquin@vsac.org

Merrilyn Tatarczuch-Koff
Project Director, t-koff@vsac.org

Want help with financial aid for learning opportunities?

If you're meeting to receive assistance with financial aid applications, it will help if you can bring the items listed below to complete the applications. However, if you don’t have these items, please don’t stress. The VSAC EOC counselor can help you explore ways to retrieve this information (if you even need it). 

What to bring if you're 24 years old or older

Depending on your specific situation, this may include:

  • Your 2018 and 2019 federal 1040 tax returns and W2s (if filed)
  • Your monthly Reach Up Family Assistance and Food Stamps/Vermont 3 Squares (if applicable)
  • Any child support paid and/or received in 2018 (if applicable)
  • The current balance of your checking and savings accounts
  • Your home’s value and the amount you still owe on your mortgage (if you own a home)
  • Your farm’s value and debt (if you own a farm)
  • Your business value and debt (if you own a business)
  • The value of any investments and any investment-related debt (if you own any investments such as a rental property)
  • Your email address and password
What to bring if you're under 24 years old

If you're under 24 years old, you may be considered a dependent student when it comes to financial aid. This means that you'll need to provide your parent(s)’ financial information as well as your own when applying for financial aid. And the amount of financial aid you receive will be based on your whole family’s finances.

Please bring the following documents:

  • Your parents’ required items in the list above (not all may apply to your parents’ situation)
  • Your 2018 and 2019 federal 1040 tax returns and W2s (if applicable)
  • Your parents’ 2018 and 2019 federal tax returns and W2s (if they did not file, then their Social Security Numbers)
  • Your parents’ dates of birth
  • The date of your parents’ marriage, divorce, and/or separation (if applicable)

Please consider bringing a parent to the appointment or asking that a parent be available by phone during the appointment.

If you're under 24, find out if you're a dependent student

Determining whether or not you’re an independent or dependent student is an important step. To find out, answer the questions below. If you answer “yes” to any 1 of these questions for the 2020–2021 academic year, you're considered an independent student.

1.

Were you born before January 1, 1997?

Yes

No

2.

As of today, are you married? Answer “yes" if you are separated, but not divorced.

Yes

No

3.

At the beginning of the 2020–2021 school year, will you be working on a master’s or doctorate program (such as an MA, MBA, MD, JD, PhD, EdD, or graduate certificate)?

Yes

No

4.

Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?

Yes

No

5.

Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?

Yes

No

6.

Do you have children who will receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020?

Yes

No

7.

Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2020?

Yes

No

8.

At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a dependent or ward of the court?

For question 8, answer “yes" if at any time since you turned age 13:

  • You had no living parent (biological or adoptive) even if you are now adopted; or
  • You were in foster care, even if you are no longer in foster care today; or
  • You were a dependent or ward of the court, even if you are no longer a dependent or ward of the court today. For federal student aid purposes, someone who is incarcerated is not considered a ward of the court.

The financial aid administrator at your school may require you to provide proof that you were in foster care or that you were a dependent or ward of the court.

Yes

No

9.

As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you an emancipated minor?

Yes

No

10.

As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you in legal guardianship?

Yes

No


For questions 11—13:

 

Homeless" means lacking fixed, regular, and adequate housing, which includes living in shelters, motels, or cars, or living temporarily with other people because you had nowhere else to go.

 

 

 

Unaccompanied" means you are not living in the physical custody of your parent or guardian.

 

 

 

Youth" means you are 21 years of age or younger, or you are still enrolled in high school as of the day you sign this application.

 

 

11.

At any time on or after July 1, 2018, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?

Yes

No

12.

At any time on or after July 1, 2018, did the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless?

Yes

No

13.

At any time on or after July 1, 2018, did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?

Yes

No


For students unable to provide parent information

Under very limited circumstances (for example, if your parents are incarcerated, if you've left home due to an abusive family environment, or if you don't know where your parents are and are unable to contact them), you may be able to submit your FAFSA without parent information. If you're unable to provide parent information, submit your FAFSA without parent data. You must follow up with the financial aid office at the college you plan to attend in order to complete your FAFSA.

The Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) program started in 1991 in Vermont. We’re about to celebrate our 30th anniversary and have helped more than 60,000 adult Vermonters! 

Data

Every year we receive funding from the US Department of Education to enroll 1,580 participants across Vermont, and every year we have exceeded those objectives. In 2018–19, we enrolled 1,757 participants and helped an additional 1,156 adults in statewide services.

  • 91% of the participants we helped last year submitted financial aid applications.
  • 85% of the participants we helped last year applied to postsecondary institutions. 
  • 73% of the participants we helped last year enrolled in postsecondary institutions as a result of our services.

Stories 

Every adult we help has a unique story and journey. Here are a few EOC students who agreed to share their stories:

Newsletters

Every year EOC creates electronic newsletters around specific topics for our students and agency partners. If you'd like to begin receiving our digital newsletters, please contact Maria Paquin at paquin@vsac.org.

Ready to access our services and more? 

Contact a VSAC EOC team member by calling 877-961-4369.