By SHAYLENE ABBEY
Of all the deadlines students have throughout the school year, this is one they won’t want to miss.
The scholarship and bursary application deadline for this term is Sept. 30. Scholarships are given to recognize academic achievement and community involvement, meanwhile bursaries are given based on financial need.
Helen Armstrong, student awards officer at the Niagara College Foundation and Alumni Relations office at the Maid of the Mist campus, explains the role the foundation plays in scholarships and bursaries.
She says the foundation raises money through events such as the Seafood Gala and the Niagara College Golf Classic and from internal and external donors within the community.
Last year’s Seafood Gala raised $139,000, and the Golf Classic raised $31,000 toward scholarships and bursaries.
Armstrong says other ways the foundation receives donations are bequest gifts, where a donor has left a gift through his or her will, memoriam gifts and gifts in honour of a person or in celebration of a special occasion. She adds many large companies and organizations make donations to the foundation because "they know that we [the college] are bringing up the future leaders of the community."
Adrian Jancsi, 19, knows the impact a financial award can have on the college experience.
The second-year Broadcasting – Radio Television and Film student at the Welland campus, says in an email interview that receiving an award was "like a burden being taken off my shoulders."
Jancsi received the Queen Elizabeth Aim for the Top scholarship worth $1,716 and the Branscombe Scholarship worth $2,500. He also received an Ontario Access Grant and a Canada Student Grant for middle income families.
Jancsi says he wasn’t going to apply for the Queen Elizabeth scholarship because "I really didn’t see myself winning it." When he was notified of receiving the scholarship, Jancsi says he was "ecstatic and so happy."
"It was one of those moments in your life when you finally get some closure for once I felt like I did something right."
He says he applied for the awards because of the financial help he needed toward his education.
"This changed the experience for me in college like you wouldn’t believe," he says.
The scholarships Jancsi received are renewable each year for up to four years if an average of 80 per cent is maintained in studies.
He remarks his second year tuition had gone up, making him "a little scared," but he has just recently been informed that the sum of all the awards will pay his tuition in full for the whole year.
‘That just made very happy, to the point of tearing up," he says.
Jancsi says that he comes from a family that works very hard, and receiving these awards was "not only a gift to me, but a gift to my parents as well." He recommends every student apply for as many awards as it’s possible.
"These honours [stay] with you in the long run. They remain in your records."
Jansci was born in Canada but lived in Argentina from the age of three until eight years ago. He resides in St. Catharines.
Marissa Gasbarini, a financial aid assistant at the Welland campus Financial Aid Office, says in an email interview each year about 800 students apply for the Niagara College Foundation Awards and about 275 awards will be given.
"We do usually receive more applications than awards available."
Gasbarini mentions that certain awards may only receive a few applicants because of the criteria involved in the application.
"My suggestion to students interested in applying for awards is to read everything carefully and make sure all documents required are attached."
She adds students should try and gain volunteer work and community involvement as "this will enhance your scholarship applications."
To apply for this, go into www.niagaracollege.ca/finald/scholarship_bursaries.htm.