Bursaries may bring relief
By Dave Yasvinski
Western students unfortunate enough to have found their tuition levels increased by more than 20 per cent this upcoming year will find some measure of relief in the university's new bursary plan.
Deputy registrar Rob Tiffin said the idea for the bursary originated from a meeting between Western administration and students from the medicine, dentistry and business programs on May 20, the day before the school's budget was passed by the Board of Governors.
Nick Iozzo, VP-education for the University Students' Council said during the meeting with the administration, a medicine student asked Western President Paul Davenport to a consider a $1,500 bursary for everyone in a program increasing tuition by more than 20 per cent.
The bursary plan which administration decided upon was $2,100 for business students and $2,600 for medicine and dentistry students who qualify for the Ontario Student Assistance Plan.
"It's a good start. The USC likes it because it is a bursary and not a loan," Iozzo said.
Tiffin said students will be mailed a financial assessment form along with their acceptances to these three programs. Using the same formula OSAP uses to determine financial need, the university will determine if a student qualifies for a bursary.
"Upon your admission, the money is awarded up front," said Iozzo.
Although not required by government stipulations, Iozzo said Davenport said support will be extended to out of province students, provided they meet the same financial criteria as Ontarians. "Our fear is that because this is not down on paper it is a promise that could be easily broken," Iozzo said.
Greg Moran, Western's VP-administration said the university intends to make it clear that assistance will be made available especially in light of the fact the new bursaries are just for the upcoming year. "We have an obligation to students with OSAP need," he said.
USC President Ian Armour said the new bursary plan makes the tuition increases an easier pill to swallow. "It's a good cause but if you're trying to sell the university it would have been better to limit tuition this year the university is going to have to market this well," he said.