# # # As Vermont students returned to campus this week, Rep. Peter Welch held a roundtable Wednesday morning to discuss college affordability and gather input about pending legislation that could revamp the nation’s financial aid system.Welch was joined at the roundtable, which was held at Vermont Technical College in Randolph, by students and higher education officials from throughout Vermont. The group focused its discussion on the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (H.R. 3221), which passed the House Education and Labor Committee this summer and which is expected to come to a vote in the House this fall.“Throughout Vermont, students and parents are struggling to afford college. While federal financial aid programs help many Vermonters pay their tuition bills, many more still cannot afford this most important investment,” Welch said. “As Congress weighs this comprehensive legislation, it is important for me to hear Vermonters’ feedback to ensure that we pass a bill that expands access and improves affordability.”H.R. 3221 is broad-ranging legislation that would increase the maximum size of Pell Grants, expand access to Perkins Loans, convert all new federal student lending to direct loans, create a new Community College Grant Program and simplify federal student loan applications.Participants in Welch’s forum included Tim Drew, a Community College of Vermont student, and Jessica Grout, a senior at Vermont Technical College. Representatives from the following organizations and institutions also took part: Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, Vermont Technical College, the University of Vermont, Champlain College, Norwich University, Union Institute and University, New England Culinary Institution, College of St. Joseph, Vermont Law School, Marlboro College, Goddard College, Burlington College, St. Michael’s College, Johnson State and Southern Vermont College.Source: Welch’s office.
FairPoint Communications has expanded broadband to hundreds of homes and businesses in Enosburg Falls.FairPoint will be bringing total broadband coverage to half of its exchanges this year, including Enosburg Falls, as part of the company’s new high-capacity network called VantagePoint.‘VantagePoint is enabling us to expand broadband service into areas with no high-speed Internet access and provide enhanced services across the state,’ said Michael K. Smith, FairPoint state president for Vermont. ‘Broadband availability opens the doors to the world for the residents and businesses in Vermont and is fundamental to the state’s future economic growth.’FairPoint’s VantagePoint network, a fiber, IP-based network, providesresidential speed options as fast as 15Mbps. Broadband service on the VantagePoint network means customers can smoothly stream live video, play online games and upload photos and large files with ease. Always-on broadband access provides almost instant connections to information, news and entertainment.FairPoint’s high-speed Internet service will reach Enosburg Falls customers along all or portions of the following streets: Bakersfield, Bogue, Boston Post, Brave, Butternut Hollow, Carpenter, Chimney, Coits Gore, Courser, Daigle, Deming, Enosburg Mountain, Horseshoe, Joyal, Longley Bridge, Nichols, Old Boston Post, Page, River, Sand Hill, Shadow, Tyler Branch and Witchcat.Since April 2008, FairPoint has invested more than $50 million in the communications infrastructure and technology to bring broadband to Vermont, including building almost 1,000 miles of new fiber across the state.Internet packages start at $35.99 per month.About FairPointFairPoint Communications, Inc., is a leading communications provider of high-speed Internet access, local and long-distance phone, television and other broadband services to customers in communities across 18 states. Through its fast, reliable data network, FairPoint delivers data and voice networking communications solutions to residential, business and wholesale customers. VantagePoint(sm), FairPoint’s resilient IP-based network in northern New England, provides business customers a fast, flexible, affordable Ethernet connection. The VantagePoint(sm) network supports applications like video conferencing and e-learning.Source: FairPoint Communications.