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There’s no doubt about it, cost is a factor in any decision to go back to school. But don’t assume you can’t afford to go to college or get more training! There’s a lot of financial aid out there to help students—including adult learners—pay for higher education. Your VSAC EOC counselor can help you research, apply for, and/or refer you to sources of funding.
“I had never done the FAFSA before, but my EOC counselor helped me apply and the financial aid covered my classes and books! It wasn’t as stressful as I thought, and she helped a lot.”
The primary responsibility for paying for training programs lies with the student and, if applicable, with the family. Financial aid is designed to supplement, not replace, a student’s or family’s contribution to these expenses. EOC counselors can help you navigate this.
Financial aid includes:
There’s money available to help eligible Vermonters earn certificates and degrees. Your EOC counselor can help you research, apply for, and/or refer you to:
Financial aid may include:
If your training includes classes for college credit, please work with your local EOC counselor or college financial aid administrator to find out whether you should be utilizing the aid listed in this document or the federal financial aid pathway for college credit.
There’s money available to help eligible Vermonters earn credentials and certificates of value. Your EOC counselor can help you research and apply for these funds, and/or refer you to:
Please work with your local EOC counselor or college financial aid administrator to find out whether you should be utilizing the aid listed in this document.
Many financial aid resources for undergraduate degrees aren't available to fund graduate studies. Students pursuing advanced training often need to identify multiple funding sources and plan to combine gift aid and self-help aid to pay for graduate-level work. The following information will help you navigate opportunities and options; but since funding sources may change, we can’t guarantee the information will be current, accurate, or complete.
Vermont residents who demonstrate financial need and who have to take prerequisite courses before starting a graduate program may be able to use the Advancement Grant (Vermont’s non-degree grant) to help fund these courses. Get details and application links.
VSAC Advantage or federal student loans may be used to pay for prerequisite courses, depending on the number of credits taken per term. Check with the financial aid office to determine your best option, based on whether you’ve used the maximum in federal student loans.
When you applied to undergraduate colleges, you likely applied to multiple schools, and part of your decision to attend may have involved a price comparison. You should do the same for your graduate studies; explore multiple options and ask each institution about the financial support they can provide for graduate students.
Search for fellowships in the same way you'd search for scholarships, and include national organizations in your field, such as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine; also search by identity, for example, through the American Association of University Women. Useful sites include GradSchoolHeaven.com and Profellow.com, though VSAC does not endorse general Internet content.
If additional loans are needed beyond the $20,500 unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan yearly limit, the Federal Graduate PLUS Loan is available for students attending graduate schools. Borrowers must not have adverse credit history. Private student loans are another source of funding; these loans are credit-based, and some require cosigners. Review terms and conditions carefully, examine borrower protections, and look for fixed interest rates rather than variable interest rates.
If federal loans are a part of the plan for paying for graduate studies, there may be options for the use of an income-driven repayment plan or even loan forgiveness through Public Service Loan Forgiveness. There are many factors to consider when determining loan repayment options and whether loan forgiveness may be an option. The best source of information is through the Federal Student Aid loan repayment section, where you can review payment options and learn about forgiveness, cancellation, and discharge options.
The VSAC Advantage Loan is an example of a private loan with a fixed interest rate. To access private student loans, you’ll need to complete loan applications and any additional paperwork required by the lender.
Use our chart to compare financial aid offers from the programs you're interested in.