VSAC launches initiative to help high school students get more education

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(Host) A new initiative to get middle school and high school students thinking about college or another training program after high school was launched today at Winooski Middle School.

The Vermont Student Assistance Corporation launched the "Start Where You Are" program. It’s for students who may not otherwise consider higher education.

Don Vickers is president and CEO of VSAC. He says a significant number of students are missing out on opportunities that could give them a better future.

(Vickers) "We know that we have 30 percent of those Vermonters who graduate from high school who don’t go on to continue their education, whether it be college education or whether it be through workforce development or training. And we need to get more information out to those students to make choices, because they’re going to have to support themselves and this program will do that."

(Host) "Start Where You Are" received a $1 million appropriation from the Legislature to keep the program afloat for three years.

The program combines a youth-friendly Web-site that prompts students with questions about their future.

The program also hired an "opportunista" to travel to schools and teen centers around the state.

That person is Hannah Hurlburt. She’s a first generation college student and a Vermonter. Although she went to UVM, she says this sort of program would have helped when she began looking.

(Hurlburt) "I didn’t know where I was going or what I was doing. I mean I knew what I wanted to do… I thought. But we didn’t know what was happening, you know, how to fill out the college paper work, how to schedule a college visit or any of that kind of stuff. And it’s just a matter of having the resources or giving yourself the resources."

(Host) The program will also include outreach to parents to help get them thinking about possibilities for their children.


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