So you’ve cruised the Stafford Technical Center ATE website and found the onsite or online course or program that is just right for you! Congratulations! Today, more and more people are considering short-term job training and certification programs as an alternative to going to college. Most of the job training programs that STC offers typically take less than a year to complete, providing completers with both the classroom instruction and hands-on experience needed to get started in entry-level careers in fields such as allied health, transportation and manufacturing.
Opportunities in these fields are plentiful and the training you need is remarkably affordable—certainly more affordable than the tuition and fees related to attending a two or four-year college or university. But make no mistake about it, finding the funding necessary to enroll in these focused, short-term education and training programs at Stafford Technical Center ATE can still be a challenge for many adults who have families or other obligations to consider when making a change in their employment.
While most state and federal financial aid programs are geared toward funding students who want to pursue a more traditional educational experience through a college or university, there are funding options for adult students who need assistance in “paying the bill” for these affordable short-term education and training programs.
The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) offers funding for eligible Vermont residents enrolled in qualified non-degree courses or programs and there are a range of training programs offered in Vermont. Many Vermont colleges and universities offer short-term certificate and training programs in addition to their full degree programs.
Stafford Technical Center ATE is one of many career and technical centers in Vermont that offer short-term training and certificate programs. STC and its online partner Cengage Learning-ed2go can enroll you in a course that is just right for you after you have located the program or career area that is of interest to you. But before you can register, you need to be sure that you and the program is eligible for VSAC funding.
You could go online and visit VSAC’s website to learn more about what funding opportunities exist for short-term training and how to apply for them, but there is no substitute for the personal care and assistance you will receive from Martha McCaughin, the VSAC Outreach Counselor who is assigned to the Rutland Region. Martha not only understands Stafford’s programs and the training they provide, she also understands VSAC’s eligibility guidelines in terms of what non-degree grants can support and whether your current personal financial situation is likely to meet the threshold for funding. A conversation with Martha—either by email or face-to-face—can make a huge difference in bringing your desire to enroll in a program closer to starting your next career. Her email address is [email protected]. You can also schedule an appointment to meet with her by calling (802) 786-8840. And here are three of the funding sources that you will want to talk about during this meeting with Martha.
The VSAC Advancement Grant
This grant was formerly known as the Non-Degree Grant and is available to financially-eligible adult students who are Vermont residents and are not currently enrolled in high school but wish to enroll in a non-degree (non-matriculated) course or program that will improve his/her ability to get a job or leads to further study in a focused career area. Depending upon your financial need, eligible adults could receive funding that will cover the full cost of the tuition and fees associated with many of the career programs offered through Stafford Technical Center ATE. Additionally, eligible adult students can receive up to two courses per enrollment term, up to two enrollment terms per financial year (July 1- June 30), for a lifetime total of six enrollment terms.
The Curtis COV Training Scholarship
The Curtis Fund, with the help of Vermont Student Assistance Corporation is making funding available to Vermonters who seek short-term training programs to build their job skills. The Curtis Fund has been providing scholarship aid to Vermont men and women for over a century and when it became a funding partner in 2019 at the Vermont Community Foundation, it joined a family of funders that are dedicated to helping every Vermonter access the education he or she needs to build a better life.
The Curtis Fund wants to support those Vermonters, from high school students to adult learners, who have the aptitude and desire to do productive work but are facing barriers to getting an education or training due to challenges like income instability or living with a disability. This fund helps them get started in a wide range of postsecondary options—not just earning a college degree. The scholarships range from $500.00 to $1,500.00 and are awarded to adult students who seek a license, certificate or credential of value in a field or career that is identified as promising by the McClure Foundation and Vermont Department of Labor.
Vermont Trades Scholarship Forgivable Loan
WHAT IS AN INTEREST-FREE FORGIVABLE LOAN?
The State of Vermont offers several forgivable loan programs to encourage students to enter the Vermont workforce in specific high-demand fields. These unique loans:
- Are interest free.
- Require awarded students to sign a promissory note committing to specific work obligations when they accept the funding.
- Do not require payment while the student is enrolled in the applicable degree or training program.
- Are “forgiven” — which means that the loan does not have to be paid back — when the student meets the work obligations outlined in the promissory note they signed.
- Must be repaid if the student doesn’t complete the program, doesn’t receive their license, or doesn’t work in the field in Vermont following licensure.
Funded by the Vermont Legislature, the new Vermont Trades Scholarship Forgivable Loan Program covers up to full tuition, initial licensing fees and exam fees for qualified recipients enrolled in industry-recognized training and certification programs that lead to a career in select building, mechanical, industrial or medical trades; emergency services; energy including clean energy, energy efficiency or weatherization; transportation; broadband; robotics and other high-demand sectors. Funding is awarded to qualifying applicants with financial need on a first-come, first-served basis until all funds have been depleted.
Applicants must register with Vermont Department of Labor for the purpose of receiving relevant job referrals, if unemployed.
Awards are in the form of an interest-free loan which is forgiven when the recipient signs a promissory note and has completed the following work obligations:
- Agree to work in their profession in VT for a minimum of one year following licensure or certification completion for each year of funding received.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
- Vermont & non-Vermont residents
- Must demonstrate financial need.
- Must be enrolled in industry recognized training and certification program that leads to initial employment or career advancement in a building, mechanical, industrial or medical trade; emergency services, including paramedics; energy, including clean energy, energy efficiency, or weatherization; transportation, including clean transportation; broadband; robotics or other high demand sectors.)
- Must register with VT Department of Labor for the purpose of receiving relevant job referrals, if unemployed.
Note: Preference will be given to students enrolled in a Vermont-based training program.
HOW MUCH IS THE AWARD?
This award can be used to pay for tuition, initial licensing fees, and exam fees.
HOW DO I APPLY?
- Complete the Unified Scholarship Application online through your MyVSAC account. For detailed information about the application, refer to pages 1–4 of the Scholarships for Vermonters booklet.
- Provide family income information as specified in the application instructions.
- If selected as a recipient by the selection committee, recipients sign a promissory note when they accept funding that commits them to the following work arrangements. The loan will be forgiven when the work obligation is met:
- Agree to work in their profession in Vermont for a minimum of one year following licensure or certification completion for each year of funding received.