Online system and new bursaries increase bursary popularity
In recognizing the dedication, hard work and financial need of students, Grant MacEwan University is handing out a total of $384,250 in winter bursaries.
There were a total of 1,430 applicants for the bursaries, with cheques being handed out to 480 of them.
Craig Hamilton, supervisor of Student Awards at MacEwan, notes that there was a total of 1,644 applicants for the 2009-10 terms, with the number doubling up this year with 2,826 applicants for both the fall and winter bursaries.
Hamilton said the increase is due to a combination of both a heightened sense of awareness of the availability of bursaries and an increase in student intake.
“This is the second year we’ve been on the online system so more and more people know about it,” said Hamilton.
The online system provides ease and efficiency for both applicants and Hamilton’s administrative team. In maintaining the status as a sustainable campus, the online system has helped to decrease paper waste as well as time spent processing applicants.
Bursaries are handed out to students from various programs. Hamilton, Keith Andony, general manager of the Students’ Association, and the Community Relations Fund Development department made a groundbreaking decision this year regarding bursaries.
“We came to a consensus this year to open up bursaries, so we’ve never had it that ESL or upgrading students could qualify.
“This year we opened it up to Alberta College students, so that was kind of exciting,” exclaims Hamilton.
In realizing the financial need and expenses faced by these students, who are often times either single parents or new immigrants, Hamilton said it was time to step up to the plate and help these students.
Alberta Works was once able to fund two-year programs, but has recently cut back to only funding one-year programs.
Another proud partnership that Hamilton talks about is the Annie Hole Bursary for Children’s Nutrition, which started out last winter.
“It is now solidified, so now every fall and every winter — every term forever — we can give away $100,000. So 100, $1,000-bursaries to students with children,” he said.
The institution realizes the costs involved when it comes to raising children as it can be quite tough especially when parents themselves are in school, he said.
All 480 scholarship, award and bursary recipients were being notified at press time.
They will be receiving their bursaries after reading week takes place.
“Students will physically receive a cheque in three to four weeks. So March — either the first week or second week,” said Hamilton.
“With bursaries, I think it’s good to point out too that bursaries are non-repayable. The bursaries that I give out in the fall and winter, (students) don’t need to pay them back,” said Hamilton.
“A lot of people think you do. It’s just (designed) to help students that are struggling to finish their studies or stay in school,” he added.
In preparation for MacEwan’s 40th anniversary, Hamilton anticipates an exciting announcement that he urges students to be on the lookout for.
The anniversary committee at MacEwan is in talks to launch Anniversary Scholarships in conjunction with the institution celebrating its 40th year.
Instead of hosting a full-blown celebration with advertisements and fancy cocktail parties, the committee has decided to channel the funds towards awarding deserving students and recognizing outstanding individuals for their talents and contributions to MacEwan and the society at large.
The scholarships, if approved, will be available next year to all students returning in the fall.