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Funding celebrated

Last week, NAIT celebrated student success across campus at the second annual scholarships and bursaries celebration. Students from all programs who had received NAIT scholarships and bursaries this academic year were invited to meet with donors and staff to celebrate their success.

NAIT’s Office of Advancement has projected that by the end of this academic year, over $4.8 million will have been distributed to over 3,850 students at NAIT. That works out to over $1,200 per student in funding this year alone.

“This is only the second [scholarship and bursary] celebration we’ve had that is institution-wide,” said Mike Meldrum, associate vice-president of the Advancement Department “It was exciting last week to see the room so full and to see such great energy and the engaging conversation that was going on between donors and students,” he said. “To me, that’s where the magic happens. A donor is normally coming forward and donating because they want to make a difference and to have a student recipient come forward and thank the donor is a very powerful thing.”

A large majority of NAIT’s scholarships and bursaries come from private donors, including staff and alumni. For many students, scholarships and bursaries are a funding alternative to help cover the cost of their education at NAIT or serve as a supplement to their provincial and federal student loans. However, they also serve as a reward for academic performance, community involvement or student leadership.

For many donors, scholarships and bursaries are an opportunity to give back and reward the hard work of students. That appears to be reciprocated by the students receiving the awards as well. “One of the comments I’ve heard from students is, ‘I’m looking forward to being in a position to pay that forward in the future.’ ” said Meldrum. “It’s a very positive feedback loop that’s formed when you have people making a difference by giving back and supporting education.” Starting a scholarship or bursary for students at NAIT is relatively simple. According to NAIT’s website, you simply have to choose the type of award, the type of funding and the conditions for each award. Whether you choose to support an annual scholarship or to set up an endowment, you will provide significant value to students. As for students, the application process for NAIT scholarships and bursaries are simple and streamlined.

Once a student selects awards to apply for online, the system will generate one application for all of the scholarships selected. Should a scholarship require an essay or other submission, a prompt at the end of the application process allows a student to upload any additional information. There are a variety of scholarships and bursaries available, which include funding for those with financial limitations, awards for academic achievement and awards for community involvement or student leadership. “It’s a nice way to end the year – to celebrate student success and celebrate the gifts that help make that success possible,” Meldrum said.

Nicolas Brown

Issues Editor

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