Vermont has impressive goals when it comes to higher education!
The state is ranked among the top when it comes to high school graduation rates and percentage of residents with college degrees. But they remain focused on improvement.
Vermont has launched an initiative to increase the number of working-age residents with a postsecondary degree or credential of value to 70% by 2025. As of 2018, the state is at 53%. To meet its goal, the state is focused on promoting awareness of career pathways and educational value, expanding access and providing support so that higher education is more attainable to all Vermont residents.
The state’s dedication to higher education is a clear priority, through this new initiative, as well as its already robust online programs and generous financial aid packages.
Overview of Higher Education in Vermont
Vermont is home to 22 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2018-2019 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Of these, 5 are public, 16 are private non-profit and 1 is private for-profit.
The cost to attend one of the state’s 4-year public institutions is around $19,604 for residents, according to the NCES. Non residents will play $39,947, on average. Both tuition rates are the highest in the nation.
Students whose chosen major is not offered at a Vermont college may be able to take advantage of the Regional Student Program (RSP) Tuition Break which is available through the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE). This program allows students in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont to save thousands of dollars, and enables the states to expand and diversify their academic programs without costly duplication. In the 2019-2020 school year alone, over 9,200 New England residents saved an estimated $63.5 million in tuition through this program!
About Online Colleges in Vermont
For Vermont students who are already balancing a career and family, the rigors of college can be especially challenging. Online learning provides a convenient alternative that can fit around their existing schedules.
In 2018, the NCES reported that 16.5% of college students in Vermont were enrolled exclusively in online courses, and another 6.8% were participating in a hybrid of online and on-campus courses. Since then, the numbers have risen as colleges have increased their online offerings.
Today, the University of Vermont offers both degree and certification programs in fully online and hybrid formats. Masters degrees are available in Interdisciplinary Studies and Public Health, among other areas. The school also offers unique certification programs and courses, such as Business of Craft Beer, Facebook Digital Marketing and Introduction to Beekeeping.
Vermont’s private colleges also offer robust online programs. Champlain College offers more than 60 degree and certificate programs, all available fully online. Norwich University has more than 20 years of online experience, and offers 9 bachelor degree programs, 16 master’s programs and a variety of certificate programs, all online.
At the community college level, students at Community College of Vermont (CCV) can choose from more than 300 courses each semester in areas like art and design, computer information systems, biology, humanities, social sciences and more. Most CCV students take at least one online course, and many complete their degree programs entirely online.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Vermont
If you’re planning to pursue a degree from a college or university in Vermont, the first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The FAFSA can open the door to federal, state and even some private financial aid. Even if you don’t believe your family will qualify for need-based aid, the FAFSA is often required for low-interest loans and scholarships.
You will want to fill out the FAFSA as early as possible, since most funds are awarded on a first come, first served basis. You can access it starting on October 1st each year.
The application itself will include questions about your income and the income of your parents (unless you are considered “independent”), and the data you provide will be used to determine how much and what type of assistance you are offered.
The best type of financial aid is through grants and scholarships, which never have to be paid back.
Vermont residents have the benefit of the Vermont Student Assistance Corp (VSAC), a nonprofit public corporation created to provide the information and financial resources necessary to pursue postsecondary education.
VSAC administers the following grant programs for residents:
- Vermont Incentive Grant – For students enrolled full-time in an undergraduate or certificate program that is approved by the U.S. Department of Education to participate in the Federal Title IV aid programs
- Vermont Part-Time Grant – For students enrolled part-time in an undergraduate or certificate program that is approved by the U.S. Department of Education to participate in the Federal Title IV aid programs
- Advancement Grant – For students enrolled in a non-degree (non-matriculated) course or program that will improve his/her ability to get a job or that encourages further study
Each fall, VSAC compiles a booklet with information about more than 140 scholarships open to Vermont residents. You can view the booklet online or request a printed copy.
Here are some scholarships you may find in the booklet:
|Scholarship Name||Details||Scholarship amount|
|American Institute of Architects Vermont Scholar Promise Award||For students seeking a degree in architecture; Must have a GPA of 2.85 or higher; Must demonstrate financial need, education/work ethic, school/community involvement and entrepreneurial skills||$1000|
|Ted Bridges Hospitality Scholarship||For college freshman, sophomore, or junior seeking education in hospitality or tourism; Must demonstrate academic achievement and financial need||Up to (2) $1000|
|Nichols Family Scholarship||Must have a GPA of 2.4 or higher; Must demonstrate financial need; Must demonstrate resilience in the face of adversity/hardship||(2) $6000|
|RehabGYM Scholarship||For students who have overcome a significant physical challenge or illness; Must demonstrate financial need||Up to $1000|
|Helen K. and Robert T. Stafford Scholarship||For students seeking a degree in environmental studies or special education; Must demonstrate financial need and community involvement/service||Up to $1000|
|The Tatarczuch Family Scholarship||For students seeking a bachelor’s in accounting, finance or business management; Must demonstrate financial need and education/work ethic; Must have a GPS of 2.5 or higher||Up to $5000|
You can also find more “free money for college” by using scholarship search sites like Fastweb.com.
Finally, check with the financial aid office at the school you have chosen. They may be able to tell you about additional aid programs – grants and scholarships – available to admitted students.
List of Online Colleges in Vermont
|Online Colleges in Vermont||Location||Annual Tuition||Accreditation||Application Fee|
|Champlain College||Burlington, Vermont||$38,660||Regional||$0|
|University of Vermont||Burlington, Vermont||$17,300||Regional||$55|
|Norwich University||Northfield, Vermont||$37,354||Regional||$35|
Despite its low population, Vermont is packed with exceptional schools, plenty of online learning opportunities and financial aid to help with costs.
It’s clear that Vermont values higher education.