The Thompson Rivers University Alumni & Friends Association is donating $10,000 to the First-Year Student Resiliency Fund, which has created new bursaries and awards for students starting their education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The association is drawing from funds collected from past alumni events and activities to donate on behalf of TRU alumni.
“We want current students to know they are part of a big TRU family,” said Jordan Hirschmiller, co-chair of the TRU Alumni & Friends Association. “Many of us benefited from awards when we were students, so we understand how impactful this can be. That feeling of support goes a long way and we want to provide that reassurance for today’s students.”
TRU announced the First-Year Student Resiliency Fund at the end of July. Anyone can contribute at tru.ca/limitless. Donating by Aug. 31 ensures funds will be available to students for the fall term.
The donation from alumni follows a commitment from the TRU Foundation to provide $25,000 in matching funds and a personal donation of $10,000 from Airini (who is referred to by one name), dean of the university’s faculty of education and social work.
The COVID-19 pandemic may exacerbate financial problems for students.
According to TRU, education and the cost of living away from home for the average undergraduate student totals $20,000 per year, while financial support for new students is limited, as general bursaries are usually restricted to returning students.
Many students also rely on summer savings and part-time work during the school year — opportunities that are diminished due to COVID-19.
The university also noted students who are in dire financial need or unable to accumulate debt, non-traditional learners and those who are the first in their family to attend post-secondary school are especially vulnerable and risk postponing their education.
Students can learn more about how to apply for bursaries, awards and scholarships, including the First-Year Student Resiliency Fund, at tru.ca/awards.