Starting this fall, Athabasca University will be offering over $200,000 in new awards for AU students. This massive awards campaign, designed to complement existing AU student awards, is being launched by the University as a means of off-setting increasing tuition costs and students’ subsequent financial difficulties, as well as rewarding students for academic and social contributions. Jeff Wright, AU Scholarship & Awards Officer, indicated in a recent interview that although over the past seven years AU’s student body has increased by over 10% annually, the AU awards program has been relatively static. However, with AU’s new student awards budget, this has now changed. It is Athabasca University’s commitment to “make access to education as open as possible,” Wright confirmed.
The new awards can be divided into 7 categories, each of which contains several scholarships or bursaries. Categories include financial bursaries, assistance for students with disabilities, leadership scholarships; Aboriginal student awards; graduate studies scholarships; lab travel awards; and opportunity bursaries. Details of each type of awards follow.
For Students With Disabilities
“¢ AU Access for Students With Disabilities (ASD) Technology and Support Bursary (6 awards of $2500 each, and 1 award of $4500)
This bursary is offered to students with “an identified learning, physical, or mental disability.” Those who are ineligible for various government grants are especially considered for this award, which helps students with disabilities achieve their higher education potential. The award is either presented as a cheque, or as “prepurchased technology and software.”
“¢ AU ASD Educational Access Bursary (1 award of approx. $500, or one AU course fee)
Students eligible for this bursary again must have a known disability, as well as demonstrate financial need.
For Students Without Disabilities
“¢ AU Community Contribution Bursary (15 awards of $2000 each)
AU students who have “completed a minimum of 9 AU credits” and have financial need are eligible for this bursary. Students who have been active in their community are given special consideration for this award.
AU Aboriginal Student Awards
“¢ Harold Cardinal Award (3 prizes of $3000, $1500, and $500, respectively)
AU currently offers only one award for aboriginal students; new awards like the Harold Cardinal award have supplemented the Aboriginal student awards collection, in recognition of the need for “breaking down the barriers that face Aboriginal peoples.” Students eligible for the Harold Cardinal Award must have proof of Aboriginal status; application also involves completing an essay that discusses the necessity of aboriginal rights.
“¢ First Peoples Technology Bursary (up to $1250)
This award is given to a First Nations student who demonstrates sufficient financial need. Please note that the application deadline of October 15 does not apply to this award.
The leadership awards are innovative in that they are presented to students who not only maintain an acceptable GPA, but also successfully integrate community-related activities (ie. volunteer work) or other activities into their schedule. Eligible students should apply for these awards by submitting a cover letter and current resume. There are 4 main types of Leadership Awards:
“¢ AU Community Leadership Award (8 awards of $1500 each)
Students whose GPA is above 3.0 will be considered for this award; special consideration will be given to those students who exhibit leadership skills in their daily lives.
“¢ AU Academic Leadership Scholarship (18 awards of $1500 each)
Students eligible for this leadership award should have successfully finished 15 credits from AU; again, those who exhibit leadership skills will be given preference.
“¢ AU Career Advancement Award (2 awards of $1,250 each)
Both AU undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for this award; students should have completed at least 12 AU credits in the last year. Again, students should show leadership skills.
Graduate Studies Scholarships
“¢ Excellence in Research Scholarships (10 awards of $3,000 each)
AU graduate students are eligible for these graduate scholarships. Students who will be considered should have a GPA of 3.6 or higher, and should also demonstrate leadership skills. Students should apply by submitting a cover letter, resume, and two letters from appropriate references.
Lab Travel Support Awards
These awards are destined for AU undergraduate students who recently attended/plan to attend the lab session of an AU science course. Students should apply by submitting a cover letter and resume, as well as proof of travel and expenses.
“¢ Undergraduate Lab Travel Awards (10 awards of $1000 each)
Both in-province and out-of-province AU lab students can be considered for these awards. Students who have attended labs in the recent past will be considered as well as those who have signed up for lab session(s) in the future.
So, how do students apply for these new awards? Unlike the majority of AU awards offered in the past, application is not automatic and requires student action. “The majority of these awards are application-driven,” explained Wright, “which means that students must apply if they are to be considered for the awards.” However, he added that the “application process and requirements are very simple.” The majority of the scholarship awards require a cover letter and a resume for consideration. Applications for bursaries require students to complete an application found online to help AU staff assess financial need. Lab travel bursaries involve a cover letter and resume, proof of flight/other expenses, as well as the student’s lab grade. Overall, the application procedure for the awards is relatively straightforward, and applications can be sent to the Registrar’s Office (attention Student Awards Committee) via mail or email. The application deadline for the majority of the awards is October 15, 2005.
Detailed descriptions of the new awards and application requirements can be found at: http://www.athabascau.ca/html/depts/registry/studawrd.htm
Be sure to pass on the information about AU’s new awards to your AU study buddy! For more information, contact:
“¢ Jeff Wright, Scholarship & Awards Officer: (780) 428 7285
“¢ Email (E-mail applications should be sent to this address): firstname.lastname@example.org