Volume 92, Issue 82

Thursday, March 4, 1999


Budgets may get cut

Less scholarship possibilities

VP-academic under survey

Review board angry over accusations of disability bias

Waterloo helped out corporately

Crisis rallies education support

Survey hopes to gauge USC access

Caught on campus

Less scholarship possibilities

By Becky Somerville
Gazette Staff

The Canadian Millennium Scholarship Foundation has narrowed its field of eligible recipients in order to accommodate the $2.5 billion in resources it has to allocate to students.

At a board of directors meeting Feb. 17, foundation members devised a general criteria which virtually eliminates first-year and part-time students from qualifying for scholarship funding.

Norman Riddell, chief executive officer and executive director of the foundation, said 95 per cent of available funding will go towards a general awards program.

To be eligible, students must demonstrate financial need, have at least a 60 per cent course load and have completed a substantial portion of one year of post secondary education, Riddell said.

The remaining five per cent of scholarship funding has been set aside for an exceptional awards program based on academic excellence, community service and leadership, he added.

"It became immediately clear that we don't have enough money to help everyone," Riddell said. "By doing this [the foundation] can bring the needs threshold down to manageable levels."

He added while the foundation is taking a needs-based approach to scholarships, this is its first year of operation and further modifications may be necessary.

"No one is pretending that this answers all the problems of student aid. It doesn't. We weren't given enough money to do that," Riddell said.

Hoops Harrison, national director of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, said he was shocked to see these types of stipulations placed on scholarship qualification. "We took it for granted that first-year students would be eligible for the scholarship."

While the aim of the scholarship fund was to increase accessibility to post secondary education, Harrison said the narrowed field of eligibility does not contribute to accessibility at all. "This is going to disappoint a lot of students."

Andrew Boggs, executive director of the Ontario Undergraduate Students' Association, said while it was his understanding that no final decisions had been made by the foundation as to how scholarships would be allocated, the criteria could be detrimental to the opportunities of part-time students.

"There are a number of ways to ensure the impact for any given student is meaningful other than deciding to eliminate an entire group," Boggs said.

VP-education for the University Students' Council Nick Iozzo said part-time students already have very limited access to loans and grants which he had hoped the foundation would have recognized and resolved. "It's disheartening."

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