Greene: GIV Budget Cuts

Mar 27, 2015

The Governor’s Institutes of Vermont (GIV for short ) is a high school enrichment program that hosts residential workshops on VT college campuses in a variety of disciplines. Students can choose to attend institutes in the Arts, Engineering, Information Technology, Environmental Science and Technology, Mathematics, Asian Cultures, Current Issues and Youth Activism, and Entrepreneurship.

For 32 years, thousands of students have had the chance to study subjects and experience problem solving in ways that go far beyond what most high school curriculums can offer.

In a long term study in consultation with Cynthia Char Associates, 86% of GIV Alumni said that the GIV experience increased their confidence. 83% credited GIV with increasing their academic and creative motivation. Nearly as many said they discovered new career paths through GIV. And according to Department of Education statistics, the GIV alumni college graduation rate is nearly four times the statewide rate.

And GIV is not just another program for high school stars. It actively seeks applicants who may not have stratospheric GPAs or may be unsure of their goals, but who are willing to expand their horizons academically and creatively. No student need be turned away for lack of money.

In recent years, GIV has expanded its scholarship program. Almost half of summer institute attendees paid deeply discounted tuition based on need. One fifth of GIV students have a family income of below $25,000.

Executive Director, Karen Taylor Mitchell says that “GIV is committed to recruiting the most under-served students in the state: it serves foster kids, migrant workers’ kids, kids who’ve survived trauma, Asperger’s or ADHD sufferers, the bullied and the disenfranchised.”

And to do this, the GIV board and staff raise $4 to match every dollar they receive from the state.

Business leaders insist that workforce development must be a statewide priority if Vermont is to thrive in the future. Giving high schoolers the opportunity, skills and confidence to advance is part of that solution.

Educating our kids to be innovators and leaders, entrepreneurs, problem solvers and creative thinkers is not a luxury. It’s the foundation on which we will build a sustainable future for our state.

As a public-private partnership that receives just one fifth of its funding from the state, GIV has a proven track record in jump starting college and career aspirations. I hope we’ll find a way to maintain our state policy of supporting this innovative public-private collaboration.