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Policy 161: Student Awards Policy


Policy Approval Date:                      May 31, 2016

Implementation Date:                       Fall 2016

Revised Dates:                                  June 2, 2020

Review Date:                                    2017

Responsible Office:                          Provost and Vice President Academic

I.   Introduction  

The Ryerson University Senate establishes and bestows student awards and scholarships to encourage and recognize high levels of academic achievement, athletics, community involvement, extra- curricular activities, research, etc. Bursaries are given to assist those who demonstrate financial need.

Awards, bursaries and scholarships (See section IV for definitions) are provided exclusively for students entering, registered in, or graduating from graduate, undergraduate, law or continuing education programs at the University.

Awards, bursaries and scholarships may be available at a University, Faculty, or academic Program level.

All existing awards, bursaries and scholarships must be reviewed for conformity with this policy within five years of the approval date.

Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by Senate’s Awards and Ceremonials Committee.

II.   Scope 

This policy governs the establishment, criteria development, definitions, equitable competition, and the fair and wide distribution of funding for all student awards, bursaries, and scholarships at Ryerson University. This policy does not apply to external awards to which a student can apply or be nominated.

III.   Roles and Responsibilities 

Senate’s Awards and Ceremonials Committee may interpret this policy as needed.

Senate’s Awards and Ceremonials Committee has the final approval on the creation, amendment, and discontinuation of awards, bursaries and scholarships. Other organizational units will be asked from time to time to provide recommendations and consultations.

This policy does not govern the funding of awards, bursaries or scholarships or any associated financial matters.

Procedures: The establishment and administrative management of awards, bursaries and scholarships is outlined in the Procedural Agreement on the Roles and Responsibilities of Award Administration (PARRAA). See Appendix 1.

IV.   Types of Awards, Bursaries and Scholarships

a.     Awards (monetary)

Based on a combination of criteria that include, but are not limited to, two or more of the following: academic achievement; financial need; other donor specific requirements such as community involvement, disability, extra-curricular activities, or travel, etc. Awards may be one-time only or renewable with the student’s continued compliance with the award criteria.

b.     Bursaries (monetary)

Based on demonstrated financial need.

c.     Scholarships (monetary)

Based on overall academic excellence or academic achievement in a specific course or program of study. Scholarships may be one-time only or renewable with the student’s continued compliance with the award criteria.

d.     External Awards, Bursaries and Scholarships (monetary and non-monetary)

Are fully funded and administered outside of Ryerson University. Ryerson assumes no responsibility for any part of the funding, administration and selection processes but may decide to publicize the award as a service to the University community.

e.     Entrance Awards and Scholarships (monetary) Awarded to students entering their 1st year.

f.      Recognition Awards (monetary and non-monetary)

Based on one or more of the following normally non-academic criteria: demonstrated qualities of leadership, innovative skills, service to the university or community at large, outstanding athletic or artistic participation.

g.     Deans’ List Distinction (non-monetary)

Based on an undergraduate student’s 3.50 or higher cumulative grade point average at the end of the academic year (other conditions also apply). Non-monetary.

h.     Graduation with Distinction (non-monetary)

Based on an undergraduate degree program student graduating with an overall cumulative grade point average of 3.50 or higher. The academic distinction of 'with Distinction' is recorded on the student’s transcript and graduation award document. Non-monetary.

i.      Prizes (non-monetary and/or of monetary worth (e.g. book, medal))

Based normally on academic excellence in a particular academic area and, in some cases, other forms of earned merit in a specific area of study or competition.

j.      Fellowships (monetary)

Based on academic excellence and given to a graduate studies student.

k.   Sponsored Competitions 

Proceedings of, and monetary or non-monetary prizes, awards, or rewards from competitions where the sponsor derives a benefit from the competition are not part of the policy or the awards process.

In the following sections, the term Awards refers generically to all Awards, Bursaries, and Scholarships, etc. 

V.   Basis of Awards 

Awards may be granted on the basis of one or more of the following:

a.    Overall academic performance using high school, term, or cumulative grade point averages.

b.    Including but not restricted to academic performance in a particular program, course, project, thesis, proposal, or paper using a cumulative or term grade point average or course grade, or individual paper grade.

c.    Achievement in a skill related to the student's academic area in addition to attaining minimum academic requirements.

d.    Non-academic achievements or the display of other qualities deemed worthy of consideration by the University or a Faculty or Department of the University.

e.    Demonstrated financial need.

VI.   Guidelines for Awards 

General Terms and Conditions of Awards

Terms and conditions specific to each award, bursary, and scholarship are derived from this policy and must:

a.     ensure equity in competition and distribution;

b.     ensure fair and wide distribution of funds;

c.     be free of criteria based on personal characteristics as noted in the Policy on Scholarships and Awards in the Ontario Human Rights Code; and

d.     abide by any relevant government policy and/or guidelines.

Establishing an Award 

a.     Terms of Awards must benefit students and must have a minimum of limiting criteria.

b.     Criteria may be mathematical in nature (e.g., to be given to the student with the highest mark in a particular program) or judgmental (where other criteria are included such as participation or demonstrated interest and achievement in a subject as deemed by a selection committee)

c.     Only awards funded by the establishment of an endowed or annual trust fund will be considered formal awards.

d.     The university, upon the establishment of a trust fund to support an Award, undertakes to abide by the terms attached to the funds received provided that such terms are consistent with other Ryerson University polices (see section V).

e.     Faculties or academic programs can issue Awards which are not endowed or for which an annual trust fund has not been established if normally acceptable criteria, financial cost centres, advertising, record keeping, recipient selection and award presentation procedures are established and/or used. Outlined procedures must be followed for the reporting and vetting such Awards prior to choosing a recipient. These Awards will not be advertised or reported by the University. These Awards must be reported annually to the Convocation and Awards Office as per procedures.

Selection of Award Recipients 

a.   All selection committee members must be current Ryerson: employees; Advisory Council members; or students, only where appropriate and approved by a relevant Dean or the Vice Provost, Students. An Award’s donor may not be involved in the selection process, and no selection committee member should have a conflict of interest with any applicant.

b.   Senate’s Awards and Ceremonials Committee, or designates, will select all university- wide Award recipients.

c.   Senate’s Awards and Ceremonials Committee will determine the generic composition of university-wide, faculty-wide and program selection committees.

d.   With the express approval of Senate’s Awards and Ceremonials Committee, a deceased student may be considered for a posthumous award if all essential criteria and conditions have been met.

e.   Selection committees are responsible for ensuring and maintaining confidentiality and transparency of the candidate consideration and recipient selection processes. Conflicts of interest must be declared.

f.    If a selection committee determines that no applicants, candidates, or nominees meet the outlined criteria, the award shall not be given to any recipient that year.

g.   The university reserves the right not to grant an Award in the absence of a suitable candidate, or to limit the number of Awards where too few suitable candidates exist (e.g. entrance scholarships).

h.   Senate’s Awards and Ceremonials Committee will establish the minimum level of scholarship, academic standing and acceptable conduct standards for all Awards (i.e. Clear Academic Standing, no contraventions of Ryerson University’s Codes of Conduct, etc.).

Amendment of Established Awards

The terms and conditions of established Awards represent a formal agreement between the donor and Ryerson University. Amendments may, however, become necessary due to changes or cancellations of particular courses or programs which have been named in the terms, or when there are no longer eligible students. Where the terms of such Awards become impossible to fulfill, the University may amend the terms, in consultation with the donor where possible, to maintain the original intent of the donor as closely as possible.

Subject to the availability of funds, the university reserves the right to amend the terms of, to adjust the monetary value of, or to withdraw or suspend the granting of Awards.

The process for amending Awards is established in the procedures and shall be the same as if a new Award were being established.

Discontinuation of Established Awards

Senate’s Awards and Ceremonials Committee will consider and make final decisions regarding recommendations for the discontinuation of an established Award.

Awards Regulations

a.  Student Eligibility

To be eligible for scholarships, a student must have demonstrated an acceptable level of academic achievement. Only financial need must be demonstrated for bursary eligibility.

A student can apply, be nominated, or be independently chosen or identified as a candidate for an award, depending on the terms established for the Award.

Second baccalaureate degree students are normally eligible for academic Awards which they have not already received while pursuing another undergraduate degree at the university unless specified in the terms of a particular Award.

Appropriate accommodations in Award criteria may be made for students with disabilities.

b.   Student Information 

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Ryerson University’s Information Protection and Access Policy, and the Registrar’s Notice of Collection and Use of Personal Information shall govern all aspects of the awards process including, but not restricted to, application/nomination forms, selection committee decisions and information provided to donors and others concerning Award recipients, including publications such as Convocation programs and Award recipient listings.

c.   Award Distribution

To ensure a fair and wide distribution of Awards and funds an eligible student may be granted:

▪     a travel grant;

▪     any number of non-monetary Awards such as books and medals;

▪     an Award granted on the basis of an application;

▪     Awards continued from a previous year (including entrance scholarships), except as provided by the particular terms of an Award;

▪     an academic grant; and/or

▪     any external Award that falls outside the jurisdiction of this policy.

The total monetary award a student may receive each year, from either one or multiple Awards, may not exceed the highest monetary value of an existing university award or an upper limit as determined annually by Senate’s Awards and Ceremonials Committee.

To receive the monetary value of any in-course or renewable Awards, a student must be registered in an undergraduate program at the university during Term 1 of the fall/winter session that follows the review period on which the Award is based. An exception may be made for students who transfer to another program or university to graduate, and for students who may not be registered for an academic semester or year due to illness, exchange, co-op, internship, or graduation, etc.

Awards may be deferred up to one year unless otherwise specified in the terms of a particular Award.

d.   Award Recognition

▪     Scholarship and award recipients can reasonably expect that their names will be released to donors and there will be some form of public recognition.

▪     Bursary recipients will not be named in any public way without the express permission from the recipient.

e.   Payment of Awards 

▪   Funds from all monetary Awards will be deposited in the student’s Ryerson fees account.

▪   A student who withdraws, reduces his/her course load or otherwise alters his/her program of study so that they no longer meet the criteria for granting the award will be required to forfeit all or part of the Award .

▪   all Award payments will receive appropriate tax receipts.

Awards Process and/or Recipient Decision Concerns

All recipient selections will be fair and transparent.

Any concerns about a selection process should be addressed to the initial selection committee for resolution. Unresolved concerns should be addressed to the Senate’s Awards and Ceremonials Committee.

V.   Related University Policies 

Ryerson University Benefactor Naming Policy - Procedure

Ryerson University Coordination of Donation Appeals and Gift Acceptance Policy - Procedure Ryerson University Endowment Funds Policy – Procedure

Ryerson University Execution of Document/Signing Authority/Contracts Policy – Procedure

These named policies, among others, may also affect the establishment, management, and approval  of awards, bursaries and scholarships.

VI.   Appendices 

Procedural Agreement on the Roles and Responsibilities of Awards Administration.