"One of the largest barriers to success in post-secondary education is financial insecurity. The pandemic has placed an undue hardship on students within our community, exacerbating existing problems surrounding affordability. The Financial Aid Policy paper and the Tuition Policy Paper are both formal documents tasking the executive to commit to affordability-advocacy."
what are we going to do?
No student should have to withdraw from an academic program due to the lack of financial resources. As per the policy paper, I would like to continue the work to reinstate the Western Access Guarantee. Through the seat on SCAPA, I would also like to develop a policy on Student Financial Support in conjunction with the office of the Provost. This policy will cover but not be limited to:
A comprehensive digestible tuition breakdown to be given to students
A tuition payment schedule to be made available to students with monthly, bi-monthly, and quarterly schedules
Disclosure for international students about tuition increases and a cap of a percentage increase annually as suggested by the Tuition Policy Paper
There are many communities on campus that have distinct financial needs, these needs arise from the systemic barriers to access that these communities have faced. Therefore, I want to advocate to the University for the creation and expansion of bursaries to offset the financial burden to:
This would be recommended through the Student Services Committee, which oversees financial aid and makes recommendations to the office.
Scholarship applications are spread out over various forms across campus, there should be one centralized database for all scholarships available to students. This database should allow students to be matched up with scholarships automatically, and the application process should be streamlined. I would work closely with the office of the Registrar, to ensure that this resource is available for students on Student Centre. Additionally, we should also adopt a mid-stream multi-year scholarship to reward progression and growth within a degree. This would also benefit mature students, as the current entrance scholarships are contingent on marks from high school. This would be secured through the office of the Provost.
Mature students also face distinct financial barriers when it comes to accessing financial aid. They are more likely to have additional financial burdens aside from university expenses, therefore, I would also like to advocate for the creation of bursaries for mature students and advocate for the creation of mid-stream scholarships (discussed below).
Compensation for Travel Expenses
In addition to the PCRs mentioned in the papers, I would also commit to additional compensation for professional students who are taking on placements. There needs to be more compensation for students who have placements far away from their place of residence. An effective method to compensate students who need to travel would be using a per-kilometer basis for travel expenditure.