Prize encourages college financial aid applications
WINOOSKI — Vermont Student Assistance Corp. is reminding students to file their annual FAFSA application — the crucial first step to receiving financial aid for college. And VSAC has an additional incentive: Every high school in Vermont with 70 percent or more of their seniors finishing the FAFSA will be entered into a drawing to win $1,000 for a school-approved senior activity.
The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the basis for determining eligibility for federal Pell grants, VSAC’s Vermont State Grant, financial aid from the school that the student attends and for student loans. In Vermont, about 40 percent of high school seniors don’t file a FAFSA.
According to NerdWallet, Vermonters are leaving about $4.6 million on the table each year, which works out to about $5,400 per year for eligible students. That’s over $21,000 in four years. When it comes to financial aid for education and training after high school, the sooner you apply the better, said Marilyn Cargill, vice president of financial aid services at VSAC.
“Simply put, no FAFSA, no financial aid,” Cargill said. “Vermonters know the cost of continuing their education is a big investment. Every student should file the FAFSA and a Vermont Grant application to get all the financial aid that they are eligible for.”
Students can learn more about the FAFSA and file online by visiting vsac. org. VSAC also has links to the online applications for the Vermont State Grant, available to Vermont students enrolled full-time or part-time. The earlier students apply, the better, Cargill said, because many schools and colleges have deadlines for submitting financial aid applications — some as early as February or March.
For those students interested in applying for a scholarship, VSAC has an online link to the available programs and an online application. Deadline for scholarship applications is Feb. 15. VSAC awards $5 million a year from 150 scholarship programs — all are available only to Vermonters.
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