Langara College students unaware of bursaries
There are 375 bursaries offered by the financial aid department
Reported by Jennifer Wilson
Langara College’s Financial Aid department offers a wide variety of bursaries catering to registered students, however many students are unaware of them.
Langara’s current average bursary distribution is $500,000 and according to the college’s Strategic Plan update they’re taking steps towards doubling that number. In 2016 the Langara College Foundation reported a 60 per cent increase in bursary funds raised and Financial Aid distributed $643,000.
Though the college has seen a rise in bursary funds in the last year, some students are still uniformed about available bursaries.
Carmen Woytas, a general arts student said her friends had no idea about the bursaries.
“I would usually tell my classmates about the [bursaries] and no one had any idea,” Woytas said.
Woytas said she has benefited greatly from bursary funds and thought more awareness would be an advantage.
“Especially around the deadline, because it’s first come first served, they could give a general heads up to everyone,” Woytas said.
There are 375 bursaries listed on the Financial Aid website. The eligibility requirements exclude most international and continuing studies students but, if eligible, these non-repayable awards can make a big difference.
Chris Gibson, a Family Studies student at Langara, received $4,500 last semester after discovering the bursary program through disability services.
“I’m a father, I was suffering from a car accident, I had physio and they definitely did help out,” Gibson said. “Teachers should be encouraging it.”
“A lot of introductory students don’t have any sense of what they are doing, they come in here and start freaking out because they aren’t working,” Gibson said.
Melia Fernandez, student services operations and administrative manager said Langara had tried to promote bursaries through instructors but this route had been largely unsuccessful.
“I suspect that instructors are probably bombarded,” Fernandez said. “If they did all that they wouldn’t have time left to teach.”
Lack of advertisement
Lucas Uzelac, a business management student says bursaries weren’t well advertised and instructors could distribute a newsletter during syllabus week to raise awareness.
Kina Cavicchioli, Langara English department chair said instructors at the college would happily promote the bursaries but have other responsibilities.
“Our main function is to deliver curriculum and most of us have 130 to 150 students every semester,” Cavicchioli said. “We also have quite a heavy workload, and we would be happy to support publicizing bursaries and if we had financial aid [department] wanting us to help them promote them, we would be open to that but it can’t be delegated to us.”