This fall, there are more ways than ever for Vermonters to save money on a CCV education. Through the Vermont Tuition Advantage (VTA) program, in-state students are eligible for half-price tuition in more than 20 certificate and degree programs that meet critical workforce needs. Vermonters with a family income of $75,000 or less are eligible for free tuition through the 802 Opportunity Grant. And numerous other scholarships offer ways to save.

These programs represent unprecedented investment in post-secondary education from Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Legislature, and are designed to help meet the demand for workers in Vermont’s most high-need industries, such as healthcare, early childhood education, IT, business, and manufacturing.

What do these opportunities mean to the Vermonters who stand to benefit? We talked with three students who are enrolled for fall semester with support from VTA and the 802 Opportunity Grant.

For Pearce Miller, enrolling at CCV-Bennington was an easy choice. “It’s so convenient. My older siblings had such a good experience. It’s a quality education.” This fall will be Pearce’s third semester at CCV, and he’ll use the Vermont Tuition Advantage program to save 50% on tuition. The financial support has helped provide a sense of direction: he wasn’t sure what he wanted to study, but VTA incentivized him to go toward a business degree. “I can really focus on it and pursue my education. It means I don’t have to worry so much about the future,” he says of the tuition discount. “I was a little disoriented before, and it helped me to focus in and say ‘this is so applicable—I can take this anywhere.’” Pearce also says the savings could help address the loss of Vermont’s talented workforce to other states. “I think it will get more people to stay in Vermont. I think people want to come to CCV but can’t because of cost, and I think this will help with that.”

Logan O’Brien graduated from high school last year and started taking CCV classes at his local academic center in St. Albans. As a high school student, he wanted to go to the Vermont Police Academy, but eventually decided to pursue college. “You can’t do anything without an associate, or master’s or bachelor’s [degree] anymore,” he said. And after finding out that his bill would be covered by the 802 Opportunity Grant, Logan decided to stay at CCV and focus his studies on IT, specifically cybersecurity, which marries his interests: “it’s kind of law enforcement, but it’s also technology.” And going to CCV at no cost “made me more motivated because I wasn’t having to pay myself, and I also felt like ‘okay, they want me to do this, they need people here. I need to be able to do something for myself.’” Logan plans to continue his education at a four-year college, and says CCV has been a great first step. “It’s low cost, there are great classes, the teachers are awesome. If someone’s worried about going to college or unsure, I would definitely recommend it because it’s a good stepping stone from high school to a big university.”

India Martin is a busy mom of four who loves that CCV-Brattleboro is close to home. Between the convenient location, affordable classes, and flexible schedule, she says she “felt like it was the right choice for me and my lifestyle.” India participated in CCV’s medical assisting apprenticeship through Brattleboro Memorial Hospital last year. Since then, she’s been working as a medical assistant at a local OB/GYN office, and recently took on a new role as a family support worker at the Winston Prouty Center. Using Vermont Tuition Advantage, she’s continuing her education in CCV’s health science program, and is even considering adding a behavioral science degree. “It’s so much more affordable for me,” she said. “I can be way more focused. I’m really excited.” With a CCV education, India says, “I’ll have so many options. I kind of want to [pursue] nursing, but there are so many choices out there.” And she’s been encouraging others to take advantage of CCV’s low- and no-cost tuition programs. “I’m always telling people, ‘go to school. Now’s the time, because the classes are so affordable.’”

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