report from montpelier

by Rep. Joan Lenes
In the next several weeks, Rep. Kate Webb and I will be submitting highlights of the work from this legislative session. These reports will be available around town and will run in the Shelburne News. During our “off session,” we are not hosting our regular Tuesday morning meetings at Bruegger’s but are available to talk or meet with you. You can reach me at jlenes197@gmail.com or at 999-9363.
At the beginning of this biennium, I was elected by my colleagues in the legislature, to serve as a legislative trustee on the University of Vermont Agricultural College Board. I am in the second year of a six-year term and I am honored to serve in this capacity. This past weekend was a Board of Trustee meeting as well as the 209th UVM graduation. The educational discussions are rich and student presentations about their research and work are very exciting segments of these meetings. Both undergraduates and graduate students showcase. The caliber of their work and the experiences offered to them at the University are very impressive.
One of the areas of responsibility for the Board is to oversee the budget. We have in depth discussions over the cost of education in general and what it means for Vermonters. The University is very committed to being accessible and affordable to Vermonters and some of their efforts are:
– the admissions office devotes three admissions counselors and one staff member focused on Vermont outreach
– every public high school and most independent schools in Vermont are visited annually to meet and talk with students and counselors
– free application fee to Vermont residents who apply before Nov. 1
– UVM hosts the largest college fair in Vermont on campus, alternating with St. Michael’s College, and attends 8-10 other college fairs throughout the state
– hosts an on-campus reception for all admitted students every March where students, faculty, and staff can meet and interact
– Admissions office sponsors six high school counselor breakfasts around the state and a counselor workshop every other year to provide updated information about enrollment options
– UVM has an advisory board made up of 15 counselors and representatives from Upward Bound and Vermont Student Assistance Corporation
– Admissions officers make 6-10 presentations annually to students and parents at programs sponsored by VSAC
– sends quarterly email updates for guidance counselors about admissions updates, and
– hosts a sophomore campus visit program for Upward Bound students annually.
– UVM is involved with many activities that expose Vermonters to University programs. There is a guaranteed admissions program “GAP,” administered through Continuing Education, which works with anyone who would like to take college credit courses. To learn more about this, call Continuing Education at 656-2085.
Affordability is very important. A fact that is not well known is that our instate sticker price and what most Vermonters pay, are not the same. UVM devotes considerable dollars to scholarships and grants. About three-quarters of in-state undergraduates receive scholarships and/or grants. The average tuition reductions brought about by this gift aid is 50 percent. One third of Vermonters, not including the children of UVM and Vermont State Colleges employees who receive tuition remission, pay no tuition at all. I see my role on the Board as one that includes watching these costs and scholarship dollars carefully.

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