How the Pandemic Changed the Landscape of Scholarships in Canada
Student debt has always been a sore subject for most young Canadians. According to a report by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada based on the 2019 Canadian Financial Capability Survey, almost one quarter of Canadians aged 18 to 24 (23%) cited their education as their major expense when planning for the next three years. The median cost is estimated at $20,000 to $29,999, but the amount varies depending on the length and type of program. According to Statistics Canada, the highest average undergraduate tuition fees belong to four professional degree programs, including dentistry ($21,717), medicine ($14, 162), law (12,388) and optometry ($11,236), all accounting to 2.9 per cent of all Canadian undergraduate student enrolment.
The interesting facet is that almost half of the respondents planning their post-secondary education for the next three years expect to pay for their education using their own savings, while 40 percent hope to borrow or obtain a loan. The remaining 12 percent or so? Well, they don’t have a plan.
While educational costs are a serious matter as college and university tuition fees keep increasing, it’s not the end of the world if you neither have your own savings or are not able to obtain a student loan for whatever reason. Nationwide, there are a plethora of scholarships up for grabs, and some of them don’t even depend on academic merit, as what’s commonly believed. However, a 2018 report by Scholarships Canada revealed that Canadian students actually miss out on about a million worth of scholarships because majority of them already assume that they don’t qualify.
Two years later and with the ongoing pandemic, that case seems to be changing. There has been a surge of scholarship applications through GrantMe and Scholarships Canada as a number of students this year were deprived of summer jobs that typically helped in financing their education. In addition, while the federal government provided them with a break in paying off student loans back in March when the pandemic was first announced, payments resumed in October. In this regard, students can definitely look into scholarships for financial boost.
Still, according to GrantMe COO, Madison Guy, they have about $140k worth of unclaimed scholarships. Guy insists that while the pandemic has indeed drastically affected us economically, this only motivated more companies and organizations to support causes that provide educational funding for those with limited means, especially during these times. Those businesses who have not only managed to stay afloat but thrive during the pandemic realize the importance of giving back and thus they want to give support to where it’s needed the most. According to Guy, the average student matches to more than $450,000 in available scholarships.
It’s all about taking the extra step to explore these options, like utilizing scholarship matching platforms and taking the time to learn about the application process. These platforms also provide students and their parents with guides through the scholarship application process to ensure more chances of success, so students must be prepared to get to the nitty gritty.
The process can definitely be painstaking for sure, but one must have extra patience on hand to complete application forms as many as they possibly can. Doing so increases their chances of being recipients. It has happened to a business administration student in Edmonton who was awarded with at least five scholarships that amounted to $5,300. The student devoted hours to complete several essays, but the hard work truly paid off. A few hours of work that led to $5k in the end, that’s definitely a sweet reward. And who knows, maybe a similar reward awaits you as well!