Area high schools make Governor Scott’s FAFSA challenge goal

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Three local high schools are among the 29 statewide that have met Governor Phil Scott’s challenge of having 65 percent or more of their seniors file a FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Canaan School, Hazen Union High School, and Burke Mountain Academy made the cut in the FAFSA Completion Challenge, hosted by Vermont Student Assistance Corp. (VSAC).

VSAC holds the annual FAFSA Completion Challenge for all public and private high schools in the state to make sure that seniors, who plan to continue their education, are considering it, or who should be continuing their studies, file the FAFSA.

The FAFSA unlocks the financial resources available to cover the costs of education and training after high school and is the first step in qualifying for the Pell grant, Vermont State Grant, institutional aid, and scholarships administered by VSAC.

“We know that too many students decide they can’t afford education or training after high school before they even find out how much aid they will receive,” said Scott Giles, VSAC president and CEO. “Filling out the FAFSA and Vermont State Grant application is the first step in discovering what the real costs of their education will be — not the sticker price.”

The challenge runs from October 1 to May 1, when students must choose the school or training program they will attend after high school.

Vermonters will need to continue their education after high school if they are to be qualified for most careers in Vermont’s new economy. More than two-thirds of all jobs identified by the Vermont Department of Labor will require some credential of value after high school graduation. There are financial resources available to help Vermonters cover the costs of their education. It begins with the FAFSA.

In Vermont, 45 percent of students do not file FAFSA, according to NerdWallet.com. This means Vermonters lose out on an estimated $4.7-million in federal Pell grants every year, or about $3,600 per eligible student. Students who don’t file a FAFSA also may be missing out on the Vermont State Grant, which on average, offers an additional $1,800 to cover college costs for eligible students.

That’s free money that doesn’t need to be paid back. — from VSAC.

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