RANDOLPH, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont State College system is offering $16 million in scholarships and free tuition programs for Vermonters in the upcoming academic year, officials said Wednesday.

The funds from the American Rescue Plan Act prioritizes higher and continuing education and workforce development with investments in student scholarships and the public higher education system.

Chancellor Sophie Zdatny says the program includes Welcome Home Scholarships of up to $5,000 for Vermonters transferring home to schools in the Vermont State Colleges system from out-of-state schools or those who might be returning to school after leaving last year.

“If you are a Vermont student who left school last year, perhaps because of the impacts of the pandemic, or you are a Vermont student considering transferring home to a VSC institution, this scholarship was designed with you in mind," Zdatny said in a statement.

The state is funding a degree completion scholarship for the more than 50,000 Vermonters who have taken some classes, but do not yet have a credential or degree.

The state also awarded funds to provide one year of free tuition to Vermonters enrolled in critical occupation programs, including state college nursing, nursing pathway programs and early childhood education programs.

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