Volume 93, Issue 87

Wednesday, March 15, 2000


Tuition capped for five years

USC budget predicting surplus

Teachers' association rallies in opposition of federal report

Future of endorsements faces council meeting

VP hopefuls stand up to the mic

New program to reward excellence

Bass Ackwards

Caught on campus

New program to reward excellence

By Leena Kamat
Gazette Staff

High school academic super stars will soon be rewarded for their efforts, thanks to Friday's announcement of a new set of merit-based awards.

The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation announced the establishment of the Excellence Awards Program, which earmarked approximately $15 million towards academic rewards, said Cory Huhn, students' communications and public relations officer for the foundation.

The announcement followed a foundation rule which states at least five per cent of the program's funds be used for academic excellence, Huhn explained, adding the rest of the money was allocated on a financial need basis.

"The candidate should have community involvement, academic excellence [and] volunteer experience," he said.

The awards are for secondary school students who would be entering a post-secondary institution on a full-time basis only, he said. The winners would be announced in June and applications would be accepted until March 31.

There will be 900 awards in total, Huhn said, adding 600 would be local awards, worth $4,000. Two hundred would be provincial/territorial awards for $4,000 per year and 100 are national awards for $4,800 per year, both renewable each year for four years providing the students' academics were maintained, he said.

The merit awards would be distributed over 10 years, similar to the rest of the foundation's scholarships, Huhn said.

Mark Kissel, Western's University Students' Council's VP-education, said the news of the merit awards was long overdue. He added the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, of which he is the Ontario chair, supported scholarships based on academics.

"CASA has been pushing this forward since the creation [of the foundation]. Any money is good money," he said, adding it would be nice to extend this program to students already in university.

"It sounds like a great program," said Ryan Parks, executive director of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance, adding it was good that 95 per cent of the funds were awarded based on need. "I think need is the first priority."

He said the merit-based scholarships would reward those who were involved in the community and school life. "If you want to be involved in the community, you have [less] time for work."

"We think it's unfortunate to use five per cent [of the funds] for merit-based awards," said Michael Conlon, national chair of the Canadian Federation of Students. "We think there's adequate scholarships for high school students."

Conlon said CFS recommended to the foundation that all of the funds available should be delegated according to need, but the merit awards were given for publicity purposes. "This is how the program gets public visibility."

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