Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Vermont college grads can get $5,000 if they stay here

Castleton University students walking.
Courtesy of Castleton University
Many of the applications for the loan repayment program have come from students at Castleton University.

Vermont is trying to entice graduating college students to stay in the state by offering $5,000 off their student loans.

That’s if graduates of any of the state's colleges and universities agree to work for a Vermont-based company for two years in a position that requires a four-year degree.

It’s the latest effort by the state to bolster its beleaguered workforce. The new program is funded with $2.5 million through workforce development legislation that passed last year. That’s enough to pay for grants for 400 students who graduate this spring.

“This is free money on the table,” said Michele Karode who is helping to administer the program through the University of Vermont’s Office of Engagement.

Currently, Vermont ranks last in the country in the percentage of college students who stay in the state once they graduate, according to data compiled by the Washington Post.

That’s not because there aren’t enough jobs here. Right now, there are about two openings for every unemployed person in Vermont, according to the latest data from the Vermont Department of Labor, and roughly 19,000 new job openings every year, according to an estimate by the Vermont Futures Project.

To qualify for the grants, students must graduate from a Vermont-based college or university and have to show proof of employment. Almost 70 students have sent in applications as of this week. They’ve come from all over the state — at eight of Vermont’s 12 colleges and universities that offer a bachelor’s degree.

“It’s working,” Karode said. “People are wanting the money. And they’re clearly getting jobs here.”

Have questions, comments or tips?Send us a message.

Updated: April 26, 2023 at 3:47 PM EDT
This story has been updated with data from the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation that almost 70 students have applied for the loan repayment program as of April 26, 2023.
Lexi covers science and health stories for Vermont Public.
Latest Stories