A Bursary Under the Tree

’Tis the season when money seems to flow out more than in. Regardless of to what degree you do?or do not?celebrate Christmas, this time of year is peak season for spending. Social gatherings, gifts, travel?the list of expenses is endless. If you’re already short on money, this seasonal drain of funds is even tougher to endure, leaving fewer resources for important things?like education.

What you need is to boost your money inflow. If you’re facing some unique financial challenges and can demonstrate financial need, you may qualify for an AUSU bursary. AUSU exists to serve its members and providing bursaries is one way to reduce barriers to education?not just at Christmas, but all year long.

AUSU offers two groups of bursaries; the first group are available year-round, while the second group have semi-annual application deadlines of May 1 and November 1.

There are four year-round bursaries available to students who can demonstrate financial need. The first is a Computer Bursary, which provides up to eight computers per year for students who need a computer for their course work. The second is an Emergency Bursary, which provides funds to students who need help paying for course extensions or supplemental exam fees. The Emergency Bursary provides up to $700 per student per year; the total available fund for this bursary is $6000 per year. The third bursary is a Health Care Bursary, to help students pay for their own health care plan. The Health Care Bursary provides up to $1000 per student but will continue only until the allocated fund of $18,000 is exhausted. And, fourth, the Travel Bursaries, are designed to help students pay for travel and accommodation related to their AU studies, including convocation. The Travel Bursaries provide up to $1000 per student; the total available fund is $4000 per year.

If none of the above bursaries apply to your situation, check out the bursaries available next spring. There are two types of AUSU bursaries available in the May awards cycle; applications for these bursaries will open by the beginning of April. The first of these is the general AUSU Bursaries, intended to assist students facing exceptional life circumstances. The AUSU Bursaries provide up to $1000 per student and there are ten bursaries available annually. The second is the new Single Parent Bursary, designed to assist AU students who are the sole primary care provider for at least one child under 18. There are only two awards available during the 2016-2017 fiscal year; since there was no successful applicant in the November 2016 awards cycle, both $1000 bursaries will be available during the May 2017 awards cycle.

For all AUSU bursaries, applicants must be AUSU members who have completed a minimum number of AU credits (minimum 12 AU credits for most bursaries; a minimum of 30 credits for the Single Parent Bursary,) and have maintained a minimum 2.00 GPA over the most recent specified number of credits. Read the details for each bursary for full eligibility requirements. Applicants must back-up their claim of financial need with specific financial information; read the online application form carefully and include all information requested in order to be considered for a bursary.

AUSU reviews its bursary offerings regularly to ensure they are providing relevant assistance to members. If none of the above bursaries will “fit” under your Christmas tree this year, check AUSU’s Scholarship, Awards & Bursaries page periodically for new and improved bursaries.

Bursary applications typically take one to two weeks for AUSU to process, with a quicker turnaround time for Emergency Bursaries. Be sure to include all the information requested on the application form to reduce the chance of delays or disqualification. If you have questions about AUSU Bursaries or the bursary application, contact AUSU.

Barbara Lehtiniemi is a writer, photographer, and AU student. She lives on a windswept rural road in Eastern Ontario. Follow Barbara on twitter @ThereGoesBarb.

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