Students complete their senior year in Early College at CCV and enroll full-time in a CCV degree program in the summer or fall semester immediately following high school graduation. The Free Degree Promise will cover tuition and fees after any federal and state financial aid and provide enhanced career and education advising as well as stipends to help with books, transportation, and other costs associated with going to college. Students with a family income below $150,000 will receive a stipend of $1,000 per semester while enrolled in the Free Degree Promise and those with an income over $150,000 will receive a $500 per semester stipend.
To be eligible for the Free Degree Promise, students must:
- Select the McClure Free Degree Promise and their degree choice on their Early College admissions application
- Earn at least 20 college credits by the end of their Early College year at CCV and graduate from high school
- Complete the FAFSA and Vermont Grant application
Questions about this awesome opportunity?
A free college degree? Srsly?
Are you a current Early College student interested in the Free Degree Promise?
Click here to learn more.
What is Early College? What do I need to do to enroll? What’s the deadline?
The State of Vermont’s Early College program allows Vermont high school seniors the opportunity to complete their last year of high school and their first year of college at the same time, earning free college credits that also count toward graduation from high school. Students enroll in a full-time course load during the fall and spring semesters while retaining the ability to participate in activities at their high school such as sports, clubs, and prom. Early College students must be ready to enroll in full-time, college-level coursework.
The first step is to apply for admission to CCV (ccv.edu/applyEC). The Early College application includes an essay, official high school transcripts, and other forms that require information or signatures from your high school. Students must also complete the Accuplacer assessment or submit official SAT/ACT scores.
To apply for Early College at CCV, visit High School Students – Community College of Vermont (ccv.edu). The priority deadline is May 1 and the final deadline is August 9.
What is the Free Degree Promise?
The Free Degree Promise is a pathway to a free college degree for Vermonters who complete the CCV Early College program during their senior year of high school and then continue with full-time enrollment at CCV to complete the second year of their associate degree. The program is generously supported by the J. Warren and Lois McClure Foundation.
Who is eligible for the Free Degree Promise?
All members of the Vermont high school classes of 2024-2026 are eligible to benefit; in other words, all students in Vermont who are currently in tenth and eleventh grade are eligible.
Students must have completed a minimum of 20 college credits by the end of the Early College year to be eligible.
I’m graduating from high school this spring. Am I eligible?
Members of the Vermont high school class of 2024 are eligible for the Free Degree Promise if they completed Early College at CCV during their senior year of high school.
I’m a Vermont home school student and expect to graduate between 2024 and 2026. Am I eligible?
Yes, home school students are eligible.
I’m graduating in 2024 and am currently enrolled in Early College at another college. Am I eligible?
No. Only those students who attend Early College at CCV are eligible for the Free Degree Promise. CCV does offer a comprehensive financial aid program to help you finance your education through grants, loans, and scholarships.
How do I enroll in the Free Degree Promise program?
If you are a rising high school senior, your first step is to apply to Early College.
See FAQ #1.
If you are a current CCV Early College student, fill out this form.
If you are a member of the Vermont high school class of 2025 or 2026, fill out this form.
What costs are covered?
During the Early College year, tuition is covered. Students are responsible for textbooks and applicable fees. Students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) may be eligible for assistance with these costs.
During the second year of the Free Degree Promise program, tuition and fees are covered after any federal or state financial aid. Students are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Vermont Grant Application through the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC). To learn more about financial aid, visit ccv.edu/finaid.
Students who have a family income under $150,000 will receive a $1,000 stipend per semester that may be used toward books, parking, and other expenses. Students with a family income above $150,000 will receive $500 per semester. To receive these awards, students must be enrolled at least half-time.
What can I study during the Free Degree Promise program?
CCV offers 12 associate degrees in a variety of high-demand industries, from healthcare to IT to early childhood education. In addition, many of our 24 career-focused certificate programs can be completed in just one year, and include credits that can be applied to related associate degree programs. This means you could complete the Free Degree Promise program having earned an associate degree as well as a certificate.
What kinds of resources and supports are available at CCV?
All CCV students are paired with an academic advisor who helps you meet your educational goals. Your advisor will help you plan for graduation and transfer, explore career options, set goals, choose and register for classes, address any academic or other concerns or issues, and connect you with other College or external resources that can help you succeed in school.
All CCV students are also assigned a financial aid counselor who can help you apply for and receive financial aid and guide you in paying for your education.
In addition, all CCV students have access to 24/7 online tutoring, extensive academic resources through the Hartness Library, student governance and leadership opportunities, an online writing center, comprehensive career services, and a wide range of external resources that can support you with transportation, child care, food, and more.
I need to work and go to school at the same time, so it will be hard for me to take a full-time course load. Is the deadline to complete the program flexible?
Degree Promise students have up to five semesters (including summer) to complete their associate degree following the completion of Early College. Students are encouraged to enroll full-time (12-15 credits per semester).
An Early College student who completes high school and the EC program in spring 2024 will need to finish their degree by the end of the fall 2025 semester.
Students will work closely with their advisor to develop a plan to complete their program within the five-semester window.
Do CCV credits transfer to bachelor’s degree programs?
Yes! It’s easy to transfer your credits to bachelor’s degree programs, and completing your first two years at CCV is a great way to save money on a four-year degree. CCV has agreements with four-year colleges and universities across Vermont and New England. Learn more about all of your options at ccv.edu/transfer.
Who can I talk to if I have more questions?
Students with additional questions can email Sarah Kresser, CCV Early College degree program manager.