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B.C.'s graduate scholarships help students excel

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 1:37 PDT, Wed May 25, 2022

Last Updated: 1:38 PDT, Wed May 25, 2022

More graduate students will benefit from a $3.75-million scholarship fund that will spark innovation and economic growth, and help recruit and retain B.C.'s brightest minds.

"British Columbia is home to incredible graduate students who are shaping a brighter future for our province," said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. "These scholarships will make life more affordable for students by decreasing or eliminating financial pressures they face. This financial support will help them focus on their studies to continue building the lives they want so they can find further success in British Columbia."

The scholarships are merit-based and research-focused with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs. Professional programs and other disciplines, such as business administration and health, are also eligible.

"Graduate students, including those at the University of Northern British Columbia, conduct critical research and investigate a wide range of topics that have a direct impact on our day-to-day lives. They contribute meaningfully in our quest to create local solutions that have a global impact," said Dr. Geoffrey Payne, president, University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC). "This renewed commitment to graduate scholarships is exciting; it helps us attract students, furthers research productivity, and makes pursuing a graduate degree more accessible for students."

The B.C. Graduate Scholarships were introduced in 2018 and have helped graduate students undertake projects that create new knowledge and find solutions to pressing real-world challenges, such as research at UNBC in watershed monitoring, wildfire impacts, forestry, and wood engineering.

"Thanks to the B.C. Graduate Scholarship, I can experience learning as a passion and not as a job," said Ann Duong, a B.C. Graduate Scholarship recipient. "This allows me to delve deeper into my research, contemplate new ideas and possibilities, and have the confidence to explore industrial hygiene, an unfamiliar field of knowledge."

Building on the StrongerBC Economic Plan to close B.C.'s skills and talent gap, the funding helps ensure people can access the education and training needed for in-demand jobs.

Ten post-secondary institutions throughout B.C. are administering the scholarships:

• British Columbia Institute of Technology: $45,000

• Emily Carr University of Art and Design: $45,000

• Royal Roads University: $135,000

• Simon Fraser University: $630,000

• Thompson Rivers University: $135,000

• University of British Columbia: $1,650,000

• University of the Fraser Valley: $90,000

• University of Northern British Columbia: $255,000

• University of Victoria: $630,000

• Vancouver Island University: $135,000

The investment will support 250 awards of a minimum of $15,000 each through March 2024.

Since 2018, the province has invested $19.5 million in B.C. Graduate Scholarships, which has supported 1,300 awards.

Approximately 4,100 B.C. graduate students received federal/provincial student financial assistance through StudentAidBC in 2021-22, totalling $50 million. This included more than $15 million in interest-free B.C. student loans and more than $1 million in non-repayable B.C. provincial grants.

Since government eliminated interest on student loans in 2019, B.C. students have saved more than $40 million in interest payments.

Graduate students are also eligible for a wide range of student financial aid through StudentAid BC, including grants, bursaries and loans. Students can read eligibility criteria and apply online: https://studentaidbc.ca/

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