Financial Aid/Scholarships/Tuition Reduction

Herbal medicine education and services have become increasingly inaccessible. We have sought to disrupt this pattern since our founding through our full-time, sliding-scale clinic and apothecary services. Since 2007, students’ tuition has made these services possible. After making strategic changes in 2020 (e.g. relocation and planning the expansion of our garden-to-apothecary infrastructure), we are now overjoyed to be able to expand these efforts by also offering some financial support to students in the form of tuition reduction.

While this program is new for us and our budget is still shifting due to the pandemic, our intention is to dedicate a minimum of 25% of our net income annually to tuition reduction and land reparations funds.

If you’d like to contribute to our dedicated fund to support students requesting reductions, you can do so here (be sure to note the purpose of your payment). Donations are tax-deductible.

BIPOC Reparations

VCIH offers reparation in the form of tuition reduction for up to 50% of the cost of yearly tuition for BIPOC (Black Indigenous and People of Color) students. 

These are not need-based reductions. They’re offered in the spirit of solidarity, in recognition of systemic inequity that creates unequal access to financial, educational, and social resources. We also recognize the many generations of Black and Brown herbalists whose knowledge has been appropriated and whose contribution to the development and practice of “Western” herbalism has been made invisible.

Need-based tuition reduction (see below) may be combined with BIPOC reparations for a possible 75% reduction in tuition (after any VSAC funds received are subtracted). However, we do ask for a minimum investment of the application deposit of $250 from all students.

Our core faculty are currently White, of European ancestry, and we recognize that BIPOC-identified folks may prefer to study at a school with a majority of BIPOC teachers. Here is a sampling of BIPOC herbalists who offer excellent training programs for students at various levels of experience:

Amanda David, People’s Medicine School

Atava Garcia Swiecicki, Ancestral Apothecary School of Herbal, Folk and Indigenous Medicine

Karen Rose, Sacred Vibes

Karyn Sanders and Sarah Holmes, Blue Otter School

Mandana Vasseghi-Boushee and Lauren Giambrone, Wild Gather: Hudson Valley School of Herbal Studies

Olatokunboh Obasi, Well of Indigenous Wisdom School

Sobande Greer, Natural Choices Botanica School of Herbalism and Holistic Health

Stephanie Morningstar and Shabina Lafleur-Gangji, Seed, Soil + Spirit School

We welcome students who have completed other foundational training programs to apply for advanced placement into our two year clinical program. See our training programs overview page for more information.

Need-based Tuition Reduction 

We also offer need-based tuition reduction for up to 25% of the cost of yearly tuition. Any student who has financial need that would otherwise prevent them from attending VCIH is welcome to apply. 

In deciding whether to apply for this reduction, we ask that you self-select thoughtfully. We find this article and the accompanying graphic, created by Alexis J. Cunningfolk, to be a helpful resource when asking folks to consider their relative level of need. In general, if you find yourself most resonant with the “full bottle” financial experience, need-based tuition reduction is most likely not intended for you.

If you have other resources available to help finance your studies (including family support, savings, loans or employment), please utilize and/or account for those resources before applying for this tuition reduction, as we have limited funds available to cover a large student body.

A significant need-based resource available to Vermont residents is offered by Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC), which awards state-level no-repayment grants for participation in programs that improve employability (referred to as their Advancement Grant). VSAC’s funding cycle starts each year in July and prospective students are encouraged to apply as early as possible, as these funds do run out. Even if you are not certain you will attend VCIH, you should apply to VSAC to reserve your grant funding. There is no penalty or other adverse impact on your relationship with VSAC if you are not accepted to our programs or decide not to attend VCIH.

Prior to applying for need-based tuition reduction, eligible Vermont residents are required to apply for aid from VSAC. VSAC grants are currently quite generous and often cover more than half of tuition, based on student need. However, if a VSAC grant does not cover the full need-based reduction request (up to 25%), a student may request tuition reduction equivalent to the difference (e.g. VSAC covers the equivalent of 15% reduction, so students may request an additional 10% reduction from us). We do require a minimum investment from all students of the application deposit of $250.

General information: 

The deadline for tuition reduction applications is August 15th.

While we’d like to be able to offer unlimited support to all BIPOC students and to all students in financial need, our reduced-tuition enrollment is limited based on our total program enrollment each year. We will carefully consider each application and make decisions based on available funds, individual need and the number of tuition-reduction requests each year. We will prioritize on-time BIPOC reparations applications should total requests exceed funds available.

Acceptance into our programs will not be affected by application for tuition reduction.

Tuition reduction is available for all of our training programs (Roots, Family, or Clinical).

Students are eligible to receive tuition reduction more than once. As relevant, students are invited to re-apply for tuition reduction at the same time as they apply to progress through our programs (e.g. from the Family to Clinical program).

Our students are not eligible for federal financial aid and cannot apply their AMERICORPS education award to our programs, however students who have lived in Vermont for at least one year and have financial need are eligible for non-degree grants from VSAC (see above).

Limited work study positions are offered to returning students, as they become available. Work study is not available to new students.

How To Apply:

Include a short statement along with your application for admission which addresses the following:

  BIPOC reparations (10 to 50%) _____ 

Need-based support (10 to 25%) _____

                            Total (10 to 75%) _____

Funding Report for 2022:

In 2022, using the parameters above, all requests for both BIPOC Reparations tuition reductions and need-based reductions were fully funded. We dedicated 83% of our net income towards tuition reduction.

Total Tuition Reduction Provided: $12,408 to 8 students


BIPOC Reparations Reduction: 3 requests

Need-Based Reduction: 8 requests

Funding Report for 2021:

In 2021, using the parameters above, all requests for both BIPOC Reparations tuition reductions and need-based reductions were fully funded. We dedicated 26% of our net income towards tuition reduction.

Total Tuition Reduction Provided: $6437 to 7 students


BIPOC Reparations Reduction: 2 students

Need-Based Reduction: 5 students