“An education is not earned after years of arduous study have been completed, but rather within a handful of moments—a sprinkling of unannounced, fleeting milliseconds—in which we simply refuse to accommodate the desire to walk away.”
Tyler R. Vunk
Founder and Instructor
Vested Academics LLC
As a waiter and working musician, Tyler R. Vunk was no stranger to making ends meet. Powered by travel, odd jobs, and restlessness, his twenties had kept him living paycheck to paycheck. But, shortly after the 2008 recession, Tyler, at thirty-three, struggled with the idea of spending another decade refilling ketchup bottles and playing guilty pleasure tunes to unruly tourists. Attempting to reinvent himself, he made the decision to return to college full-time.
Like many students, Tyler soon discovered that the greatest obstacle he faced was not getting accepted into an undergraduate program, but instead figuring out how to pay for his tuition and living expenses.
With a prior B.A. in music, he was ineligible for state and federal funding. Most of the scholarship opportunities people told him about were for either high school seniors or students under the age of twenty-five. A few quick calculations revealed that federal student loans would only get him halfway there. And, with no credit to speak of, Tyler understood that private loans were out of the question.
Scholarship Essay Contests
Determined to change his career path, Tyler took a huge risk. Exhausting what little savings he had, he chained himself to his laptop, spending every waking moment researching the vast and complex world of scholarship search engines. Applying to more than forty scholarships and essay contests before his first semester, Tyler won enough funding to put himself through his first year of college at the University of New England (Biddeford, Maine).
While pursuing a dual degree in Neuroscience and English, Tyler continued to develop a series of research and writing techniques that would earn him—an adult student, with a prior B.A.—more than $94,000 in scholarships and free financial aid.
Realizing the innate potential of his approach, Tyler began teaching his methods to his fellow undergrads. And, shortly after graduating summa cum laude from UNE, he founded Vested Academics LLC to help college students of all ages and backgrounds reduce their student loan debts and achieve their educational goals.