Fun fact:  the proper noun, “Vermont,” is two French words smashed together. Those two words are vert, which means green, and mont, which means mountain. In turn, “Vermont” means “Green Mountain.” Consequently, the state of Vermont is aptly named because the state’s nickname is the Green Mountain State.

While Vermont is known for its Green Mountain range, it should be known for the ample number of scholarships and grants it offers its residents who want to attend college as well. In conjunction with the state of Vermont, the Vermont Student Assistance Corp (VSAC) offers over 140 scholarships and various types of grant programs to college-bound students. All the students must do is submit an application and any/all supporting documents to give themselves a shot at earning supplemental financial aid.

General Eligibility Requirements

To earn any of these scholarships or grants from the VSAC, a student must be a Vermont resident and a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. All students must complete and submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as well.

All scholarships and grants accept applications through the VSAC website where students create their own accounts on the site. Through the account, students can submit their applications and supporting documents, which can include recommendation letters, application essays, high school transcripts and college transcripts.

Vermont Grants

There are three types of grants offered to students by the VSAC and the state. These three types all require students to be Vermont residents, complete and submit FAFSA, and complete and submit a specific Vermont Grant application.

Vermont Incentive Grant

The Vermont Incentive Grant is for full-time students who are accepted and enrolled in 12 or more credit hours per term at an eligible Vermont postsecondary institution in an eligible, undergraduate degree or certificate program.

Students must not have ever earned a bachelor’s degree of any kind to be eligible as well. The only exceptions to the rule are if the student is enrolled as a medical student at Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont or the student is enrolled in an accredited veterinary medicine program.

Recipients of the grant can use funds for up to 10 semesters or until a bachelor’s degree has been earned, whichever comes first.

Award amounts vary annually thanks to available funding and what a student qualifies to receive. The amount for each student is determined by a student’s financial need, the total cost of attendance at the student’s college and timing as the grants are given out on a first come, first-served basis.

For the 2021-2022 academic year, students earned anywhere from $1,000 to $12,800 via the Vermont Incentive Grant.

Vermont Part-Time Grant

The Vermont Part-Time Grant has the same eligibility requirements and exceptions to the rules as the Vermont Incentive Grant, except a student only needs to be accepted and enrolled in less than 12 credit hours per term to be eligible.

The award amount for the grant varies in the same manner as the Vermont Incentive Grant. Though for the 2021-2022 academic year, students received anywhere from $500 to $9,600 via the program.

Advancement Grant

The Advancement Grant is open to Vermont residents who are not enrolled in high school, but are enrolled in a non-degree (non-matriculated) course or program that will improve the student’s ability to get a job or encourage further study.

To apply for the grant, a student must complete the Advancement Grant application. The grant is provided on a first-come, first-served basis and funding varies based upon available funds, a student’s financial need, the total cost of a course or program.

The grant can be used to cover up to 2 courses per enrollment term for up to 2 terms per financial year and 6 enrollment terms total.

Vermont State Grange Educational Aid Fund

The Vermont State Grange Educational Aid Fund is designed to help one student per academic year with good grades who is active within their community. In turn, they will receive extra funds for college.

To be eligible for the Vermont State Grange Educational Aid Fund, a student must meet all general eligibility criteria as well as:

  • Be seeking an undergraduate degree,
  • Be a full-time student,
  • Earn a minimum, cumulative 3.50 GPA on a 4.00 scale,
  • Demonstrate a financial need for funding,
  • Demonstrate active community service participation,
  • Attend an eligible, accredited Vermont postsecondary institution, and
  • Complete and submit the Unified Scholarship Application (USA) via their MyVSAC account along with a recommendation letter from a community service professional, an application essay and official school transcripts.

The VSAC expects to receive over 720 applications for the program, but only one student will be deemed the award winner. The recipient will receive a $1,500 scholarship.

Vermont Dental Hygiene Scholarship

The Vermont Dental Hygiene Scholarship is designed to help college-bound students decide to pursue degrees and careers in dentistry. It is sponsored by the Vermont Dental Foundation and the Hill Family.

To be eligible for the Vermont Dental Hygiene Scholarship, a student must meet all the general eligibility criteria as well as:

  • Enroll in an eligible, accredited dental hygiene program in Vermont,
    • Preference is given to students who are in the initial degree-attainment phase of a dental hygiene program;
  • Demonstrate academic achievement;
  • Demonstrate a financial need for funding;
  • Attend an eligible, accredited Vermont postsecondary institution; and
  • Complete and submit the USA, a recommendation letter from a non-relative role model, an application essay and official school transcripts.

The VSAC expects to receive only around 20 applications for the program, though up to 5 awards can be given out. Depending on the number of recipients, the scholarship can total anywhere between $18,000 to $22,000.

Sister Elizabeth Candon Scholarship

The Sister Elizabeth Candon Scholarship is designed to help single moms afford to go back to school in some manner; the program was created by and sponsored by the VSAC.

To be eligible for the Sister Elizabeth Candon Scholarship, a student must meet all the general eligibility criteria as well as:

  • Be a female, adult student;
  • Be seeking an undergraduate degree;
  • Be a single parent with primary custody of at least one child who is 12 years old or younger;
  • Be enrolled at least as a half-time student;
  • Demonstrate a financial need for funding;
  • Attend an eligible, accredited Vermont postsecondary institution; and
  • Complete and submit the USA, a recommendation letter from a non-relative role model, an application essay and family information such as the name and age of the student’s youngest child.

There are approximately 50 applications submitted annually for the scholarship, but there can only be one winner of the $1,000 scholarship. This scholarship can also be renewed for up to 3 additional years.

Ted Bridges Hospitality Scholarship

The Ted Bridges Hospitality Scholarship is designed to encourage students to pursue degrees and careers in the hospitality industry; Bridges was a longtime innkeeper in the state and a major advocate for promoting Vermont tourism until his passing in 2009.

To be eligible for the Ted Bridges Hospitality Scholarship, a student must meet all the general eligibility criteria as well as:

  • Seek an education or training related to the hospitality and/or tourism fields;
  • Enroll into an eligible hospitality and/or tourism degree program or training course during the student’s freshman, sophomore or junior year of college;
  • Demonstrate academic achievement;
  • Demonstrate a financial need for funding;
  • Attend an eligible, accredited Vermont postsecondary institution; and
  • Complete and submit the USA, an application essay and official school transcripts.

Approximately 45 applications are submitted annually for the award, but only 1 or 2 award winners are selected. Each recipient can receive a scholarship for $1,000.

Major Vermont Colleges and Universities

Vermont may only cover a total land area of 9,616 sq. miles, but there are some really good quality colleges and universities in the state. Some of the more popular schools include:

  • Bennington College (private college) in Bennington,
  • Castleton University (public college) in Castleton,
  • The Center for Cartoon Studies (2-year institution) in Hartford,
  • Champlain College (private college) in Burlington,
  • Northern Vermont University – Johnson (public college) in Johnson,
  • Northern Vermont University – Lyndon (public college) in Lyndon,
  • Sterling College (private college) in Craftsburg,
  • University of Vermont (public college) in Burlington, and
  • Vermont College of Fine Arts (private graduate school) in Montpelier.

While Vermont is the country’s largest producer of maple syrup, it should also be known as one of the country’s most helpful states when it comes to assisting its college-bound residents in finding financial aid to help them receive a higher education.