Ryerson invests in additional bursaries for students
As we continue to navigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, support for those with the greatest financial need has never been more important. It has been more than a year since day-to-day life was disrupted by public health guidelines for our collective wellbeing, and this unprecedented situation continues to affect us emotionally and financially.
Ryerson recognizes how difficult this time has been for its community members, particularly students. We also know that the pandemic has worsened existing long-standing barriers and systemic inequalities that affect some and not others. The reality is that the effects of COVID-19 are unequal, so in order to help offset the financial challenges some students may be experiencing, Ryerson has invested over $2.1M in additional bursaries for those with a demonstrated need.
In this instance, no application was required to receive this aid. Instead, eligibility was determined based on an assessment of students requiring the most financial assistance, taking into account resources, costs, and equity Self-ID data already provided to date through OSAP and/or AwardSpring.
With this information, Ryerson notified students who fell within one of the following three categories that they would receive additional financial assistance from the university:
First Year Persistence Bursary – Students in the first year of their program with a demonstrated financial need will receive a bursary equivalent to approximately half a credit in tuition at the current undergraduate Arts & Science rate. These funds can be used towards future educational costs.
New Start Bursary – Students in their final year of study who need to resolve an outstanding debt to complete their programs successfully have been made eligible for additional assistance.
Bursaries for Equity-Deserving Groups – Students who have self-identified through OSAP and/or AwardSpring as Black, Indigenous and/or living with a disability, and who have demonstrated financial need, will receive additional bursaries.
Circumstances like this one highlight the importance of applying an equity lens to financial aid data, as well as Ryerson’s own institutional self-identification information gathering. With its Diversity Self-ID reporting, the Office of the Vice-President, Equity and Community Inclusion has laid the groundwork for the university to undertake and advance this vital work. With the recent launch of the Student Diversity Self-ID Report, Ryerson can continue to allocate assistance and programming in targeted and intentional ways, with the aim of increasing access to education.
The distribution of the above financial bursaries reflects the university’s desire to transform information about students’ lived experiences into tangible action. While this program cannot address all of the impacts of the pandemic and ongoing systemic inequalities – nor will they support all Ryerson students with financial need – they are an additional step the university is taking to direct available resources to assist those with the highest need first.
We have not lost sight of how challenging the pandemic is for many, and as financial planning continues, we will keep looking for opportunities to support as many students as possible. With this in mind, I would like to thank the entire Ryerson community for your ongoing dedication to students. Your desire to ensure everyone’s continued learning and success is incredibly meaningful and appreciated.