Paying for College

The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) is your “one-stop shop” for assistance in paying for college.
We offer:

Vermont state grants

Public and private scholarships

low-cost federal education loans for students and parents

Private education loans for students

Loan consolidation

Grants, Scholarships & Loans

Grants and scholarships are gifts of money to pay college expenses. Unlike loans, they are not repaid.

Vermont state grants, like federal grants, are based on need and available to every student who meets financial eligibility.

Scholarships are awarded through a competitive process to a small number of students with specific skills, interests or qualifications.

Loans are available, regardless of financial need, to help students an parents cover the difference between the total cost of college and available resources, including gift aid and work-study earnings. It's important to borrow wisely because you repay loans with interest, often over a period of ten years or more.

Grants
Vermont offers three types of need-based grants for residents who don't already have a bachelor's degree. Grants are available for use at both Vermont and out-of-state institutions.

Vermont Incentive Grants are for full-time study. For the 2007-2008 school year, grants range from $500 to $10,600.

Vermont Part-Time Grants are for students taking less than 12 credits per semester. For the 2007-2008 academic year, grants range from $250 to $7,950.

Vermont Non-Degree Grants are for students enrolled in non-degree courses designed t improve employability or college readiness. Grant amounts vary.

Scholarships
VSAC publishes a scholarships booklet with information about more than 150 scholarships available to Vermont residents. Information about scholarships is also available from:

Web sites (visit www.vsac.org for recommendations)

Your local high school or town office

The college you plan to attend

The VSAC Resource Center in Winooski (you can borrow our materials on site or through your local library using interlibrary loan)

Loans
VSAC offers federal Stafford loans for students, federal PLUS loans for parents and graduate/professional students, a private loan for students called VSAC Advantage, federal loan consolidation, and loan-related services. All loans are repaid with interest.

Two types of low-interest, fixed-rate Stafford loans are available to students for attendance at Vermont and out-of-state institutions. Subsidized Stafford loans, in which the federal government pays the interest during enrollment and other periods, are available for students demonstrating financial need. Unsubsidized Stafford loans are available to all students, regardless of need.

Fixed-rate PLUS loans are available for parents and graduate/professional students. Parents or grad students may use PLUS loans to cover the difference between the total cost of education and other available resources.

VSAC Advantage is a private loan for students who need funds beyond the amounts available from federal, state and college sources. It's best to maximize Stafford or PLUS borrowing before turning to a private loan, because private loans do not have the favorable benefits and pricing of federal loans.

Required or Recommended Financial Forms

Students and families need to complete several forms to be considered for financial aid from state, federal, and private sources.

Many forms today are completed online, although paper copies are available for those who need them and may be required in some cases.

Each of the major online forms has its own Web site, which provides instructions and worksheets. To make your online application go more quickly and easily, read instructions carefully, gather all necessary financial information, and fill out the worksheets before completing the form itself.

You can use estimated tax information, and then update the forms later after your taxes are completed.

Be sure to meet all deadlines for filing forms (check with the college you plan to attend as well as the source of the aid). Students sometimes lose out on aid because they have not been prompt in filing forms or have missed deadlines.

Vermonters should complete the following forms. All are available on, or as a link from, the VSAC Web site. They are also available in paper from high schools and VSAC.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required in order to be considered for federal financial aid, including Stafford and PLUS loans, as well as state grants administered by VSAC. You can access the form from the VSAC Web site or directly at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Be wary of Web sites that charge a fee to fill out the FAFSA. As the name indicates, this is a free form.

The Vermont Grant Application is required in order to be considered for a need-based Vermont grant.

VSAC's Unified Scholarship Application is required for VSAC-assisted scholarships listed in the VSAC scholarships booklet.

In addition, you may need to complete the following:

The Profile, which is required by some colleges seeking more detailed financial information than the FAFSA provides. You can access the form from the VSAC Web site or directly at www.collegeboard.com. A fee is charged, although waivers may be available for those needing assistance.

Supplemental forms required by the college you plan to attend.

Applications for scholarships not administered by VSAC.