The University of Victoria (UVic) has set up an emergency bursary for students experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was unveiled on March 25, many students learned that they would not qualify for the financial assistance. Under the eligibility criteria on the Government of Canada website, it is explained that the CERB “is only available to individuals [15 and older] who stopped work as a result of reasons related to COVID-19.” Those who are looking for a job but are not unemployed as a result of the pandemic aren’t eligible for aid.
On March 31, UVic announced that a COVID-19 Emergency Bursary had been created and would be accessible to all domestic and international students in both undergraduate and graduate studies. In a written statement posted to the UVic website, it is explained that the funding is intended to support students’ immediate needs and permit them to continue to pursue their degrees in the “rapidly shifting learning environment.”
On April 2, Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark announced that the province would contribute $3.5-million to supplement existing emergency bursaries already in place at 25 public post-secondary schools in B.C. The non-repayable funds will help students cover the costs of necessities and can be allotted at the universities’ discretion.
To begin the application process, UVic students must email the financial aid office at firstname.lastname@example.org to explain how the pandemic has affected their financial situation. According to UVic, examples of circumstances that would qualify a student for the bursary would include losing one’s job or access to housing, child care, tuition, mental health services or the technology needed for remote learning. Once their initial email has been processed, students will be sent an application package.
On April 3, the province also launched a $1.5-million emergency fund to support Indigenous students attending the 25 post-secondary institutions in B.C. that received the initial $3.5 million contribution.
Indigenous students in need of financial assistance can reach out to UVic’s Office of Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement which provides the Indigenous Emergency Assistance Fund bursaries year-round. Indigenous students currently enrolled in a full-time or part-time credit program are eligible to apply and can begin the process by contacting the Indigenous student support coordinator at email@example.com. After explaining their situation, students will receive an application package.
–With files from Ashley Wadhwani