In the last five years, there has been an average of nearly 900,000 people who are attending post-secondary education in Ontario. However, a lot of those students do not know how they’re going to fund their education. For students in Ontario, many turn to the provincial financial aid program, Ontario Student Assistance Program. However, students still need to turn to external help for their studies. One of the most common financial aids comes from bursaries. Bursaries are a sum of money that is awarded to an individual based on various means. Despite colleges and universities offering this support, many students do not know of it.
Michael Wesley, a Third year Sheridan College student is in the Game Design program, has been in post-secondary education on and off since 2010 yet he didn’t know about bursaries until last year in 2023. He recalls how he went to the digital office where he saw Ruth Gaitskell and she informed him of the bursaries that were available at Sheridan College. Luckily, Michael was able to apply and be accepted for the Indigenous Student bursary and the Ontario First Generation bursary. “It kind of helped me focus on schooling rather than worry about, do I have to pay my bills this week? Do I have to pay my rent? Can I afford groceries this week? But yeah, it did help a lot.” He said.
Ruth Gaitskell works as the Indigenous Advisor at Sheridan College where she prioritizes the students and informs them of important events and deadlines such as the Sheridan College general bursary application. “There’s a general application, but also with that there’s a budget form. I’ll sit down with students and show them how to how to do this and access it. We also work on their budget. A lot of students don’t put enough money for food. They’re not eating healthy diets. So, I’m supporting students with the bursary application” she said.
Sheridan College student Naomi Faye-Porter in the Film and Television program was panicking going into her first year of post-secondary education. She was accepted for the Sheridan Black Student bursary and Sony Technology bursary. “I didn’t have many savings already to begin school. So, I was happy when I was accepted. I’m so grateful for the bursaries that I got. They just helped me focus more on school rather than panicking about financial stuff” she said.
Keifer Hester, a Sheridan College student who is in his first year of the Social Service Worker program has relied on the Ontario Student Assistance Program and bursaries for his education. He applied to Sheridan bursary, MCU Indigenous bursary and Sheridan Indigenous bursary which he was accepted for. He also found financial help from external resources such as Indspire. “Before I came here, I worked, so I managed to save a little bit of money, but they (bursaries) were pretty much the main source of my income during my studies in college, and they help out a lot with rent” he said.
The infographic below shows the rising costs of tuition.Bursaries are a great option for students to cut down on the price of schooling. by Amber Reese