Two Vermont Education Advocates Honored for Excellence: Scott Giles, Vermont Student Assistance Corporation Leader
and Alice Miller, Retired 11-Term Legislator

Montpelier, VT – The New England Board of Higher Education awarded two Excellence Awards on May 2 at the State House, recognizing Scott Giles, President and CEO, Vermont Student Assistance Corporation (VSAC) and Alice Miller, a former member of the House of Representatives who represented the Shaftsbury-Sunderland-Glastenbury district.

Scott Giles

Left to right: Sophie Zdatny, Chancellor, Vermont State Colleges System, Scott Giles, President and CEO, Vermont Student Assistance Corporation, Michael K. Thomas, President and CEO, NEBHE

Scott Giles, the recipient of the 2023 Excellence Award, is an expert on federal student financial aid policy and has devoted his career to expanding access to education and training after high school for students of all ages.

Before joining VSAC, Giles served in a number of roles on Capitol Hill including the Committee on Science of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, where he authored the student loan provisions of the Higher Education Act of 1998, served as the Committee’s chief staff negotiator for budget and appropriations and was a principal staff member on the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 1998. He was appointed by the Secretary of Education to serve on the Federal Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance and was elected chair.

Prior to his federal legislative work, he worked for ten years as a Senior Associate and team leader at Cassidy & Associates where he provided government and public affairs services to colleges, universities, hospitals, and non-profit organizations.

“Scott’s leadership is a driving force behind the essential roles that VSAC plays throughout Vermont to make postsecondary education, in all its forms, more accessible and affordable to Vermonters. As such, he has made the organization a core partner to policy makers, educators and community leaders to ensure that Vermont grows the next generation of talent that is needed for the State’s prosperity” said Michael K. Thomas, President and CEO, New England Board of Higher Education.

Alice Miller

Left to right: Joyce M. Judy, President, Community College of Vermont, Representative Alice Miller, Michael K. Thomas, President and CEO, NEBHE

Representative Miller is the recipient of the 2020 Excellence Award, which was delayed due to the pandemic. Miller served in the Vermont House of Representatives from 1997-2014 and was a board member of the New England Board of Higher Education.

She served for 22 years in the Vermont House; her tenure in the House saw passage of Act 60 in 1997 to address equality of education spending and implement income sensitivity provisions for property taxpayers, civil union and marriage equality laws extending rights to same-sex couples, and Act 46, the 2015 school district consolidation bill. She served as a member of the House Committee on Education and on the Fish and Wildlife and Appropriations Committee.

Miller was a delegate to the New England Board of Higher Education, first appointed in 1999 and serving more than 15 years in that leadership role.

A graduate of Bennington College, Miller worked as a special education instructor in Shaftsbury, as a special education consultant with the Vermont Agency of Education, and with a Head Start program in the Brattleboro area developing an education model to benefit low-income students and their
family members. She returned to Bennington College to revive and oversee the nonresident “field work” program, which coordinates internships and temporary jobs for students during the traditional long break between the fall and spring semesters. Miller previously served as administrator of research and development at Roche Diagnostic Systems.

“In all her roles and committee assignments as a legislator, Alice Miller was a steadfast supporter of education, opportunity and equity,” said Thomas. “The length of her tenure and impact of her legislative service are strong evidence of that commitment.

About the New England Higher Education Excellence Awards

Since 2003, NEBHE has formally recognized people and groups with New England Higher Education Excellence Awards for their exceptional leadership on behalf of higher education and advancement of educational opportunity.

Past Excellence Awardees have included U.S. Sen. George Mitchell of Maine, the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the late Sister Janice Ryan, president of Trinity College of Vermont, noted oceanographer Robert D. Ballard, Dartmouth College President emeritus James Wright and Eastern Connecticut State University President Elsa M. Núñez. In 2013, the New England Board of Higher Education honored Donald R. Vickers, then president and CEO of the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation.