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UNBC grad students to benefit from provincial scholarship fund

More graduate students across the province including those at UNBC stand to benefit from a boost in financial aid.

Today (Tuesday), the BC Government announced the creation of a $3.75 million dollar scholarship fund – $255,000 of that is going to UNBC.

Ann Duong is in the Natural Resources and Environmental Studies Master of Science program and is relieved to be one of the recipients of the BC Graduate Scholarship.

“I just went for it. I didn’t think I would get it actually and then I was really surprised when I got the email stating I had gotten the BC Graduate Scholarship. I was just jumping up from my seat and I just couldn’t believe it because it means I don’t have to worry financially about my studies.”

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“I came here from Ontario and I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t have any support system and I was all by myself during my undergrad, I had to work 2-3 jobs to actually pay the tuition so that was a little bit difficult. But, I really enjoyed moving out of Ontario and into a new place, finding new opportunities.”

Minister of Advanced Education Anne Kang was in Prince George for the announcement and said the investment will support 250 awards of at least $15,000 each through March of 2024.

She added a big focus for grad students is making sure the education they pay for remains applicable while entering the workforce.

“Students want their education to be relevant. In the days that I went to a post-secondary institution, we were able to go to school, graduate in four years, and oftentimes students don’t go into the area of interest that they graduated in.”

Kang stated it’s key to give students a leg up with everyday costs continuing to rise.

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“The cost of education has risen in the past few years as well as the cost of living. But, we do want to encourage our graduate students to continue their passion and be innovative and to be able to contribute back to the prosperity of our economy – breaking down some of those barriers so they can continue to do that.”

The 10 post-secondary institutions receiving B.C. Graduate Scholarship funding are:

* British Columbia Institute of Technology: $45,000

* Emily Carr University of Art and Design: $45,000

* Royal Roads University: $135,000

* Simon Fraser University: $630,000

* Thompson Rivers University: $135,000

* University of British Columbia: $1,650,000

* University of the Fraser Valley: $90,000

* University of Northern British Columbia: $255,000

* University of Victoria: $630,000

* Vancouver Island University: $135,000

Since 2018, the province has invested $19.5 million in B.C. Graduate Scholarships, which has supported 1,300 awards.

Approximately 4,100 graduate students across BC received federal/provincial student financial assistance through StudentAidBC in 2021-22, equating to $50 million.

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