By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
On August 26, members of the Douglas Students’ Union (DSU), along with members of the Douglas College Foundation (DCF), announced the Douglas Students’ Union Mature Bursary. The bursary came at the suggestion of members of the DSU who recognized the financial need of Douglas’ many returning and older students.
“I believe that back in January, Tracy Green from the [DCF] was chatting to the Students’ Union … and giving them information on the funds they already have with us,” said DCF associate vice president of external relations, Hazel Postma. “The Students’ Union mentioned that they were considering making a donation to the [DCF] to support students, and so over the past six or seven months she’s been working with them.”
$20,000 was originally pledged by the DSU to fund the bursary. The DCF then added an additional $10,000 to the award, allowing for further recipient opportunities in the future. The total $30,000 endowment is the current base fund for the Mature Students’ Bursary. With up to $1,o00 offered annually starting this year, the bursary’s place at Douglas College is intended to be permanent.
“Endowments are in perpetuity,” said Postma, “and so as long as Douglas College exists, the endowment will continue to support students.
“Endowments … need to be invested for a year while interest is earned and it is that interest that is used to fund the bursary. The principle is protected. The Students’ Union has also provided additional money so the bursary can go out this year”
Students who wish to apply for the bursary can go through Douglas’ financial aid office or fill out an application form.
“The financial aid office has a very involved and very in-depth system of ranking student need, said Postma, “and so they [financial aid] look at everything. From student loans to rent to whether people are living at home, whether they have dependents, and if so how many, if they’re single parents … what the student is either earning or borrowing or what their financial state is, and what they actually need to support themselves [to] come to school. Financial aid is meant to fill the unmet need of students.
“Students are ranked on this scale, and then there’s a three-person committee, that includes faculty, [and] financial aid and foundation staff, and then a couple of people from the financial aid office, and they review all the applications and make the decisions.”
Again, the annual scholarship is intended to provide up to $1,000 for students who qualify. Postma added that the average $1,000 would be split if necessary.
“It [the scholarship] will fluctuate because of the interest rates, right now I think it’s 3.5 per cent … so it’s roughly up to $1,000. I don’t think it’s restricted necessarily to the one student, that would depend on the need identified by the financial aid office; it may go to one student, or it may go to two.”
Postma then explained why she felt the bursary was necessary this time around, citing the struggles students tend to face when returning to school or attending school later in life.
“While we have many students in our younger demographic, there’s no doubt at all that a lot of people who have been in the workforce for a while are realizing they need either a different education or an education that they weren’t able to get first time around. [For those] mature students coming to Douglas to get a better future and take one of our applied courses … this will be a big help.”