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Removing barriers to a Queen’s education

Newly-launched Promise Campaign aims to raise $30 million for student aid across the university.

Fall convocation 2019
The Promise Campaign intends to make a Queen's education more accessible for students who face serious financial barriers.

Queen’s is launching a new, ambitious fundraising campaign to support students who face serious financial barriers to a university education. The Queen’s Promise Campaign is a three-year effort that aims to raise $30 million for student aid across the university.

“Eliminating barriers to higher education is essential to the future of our institution,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “Supporting students so they can advance their knowledge and ambition is integral to the mission of Queen’s. We know our graduates make a difference and that their education has allowed them to contribute, not just to Queen’s but beyond our campus.”

The Promise Campaign provides donors with a range of opportunities to support student aid at Queen’s. They can give to any existing financial aid funds at the university, including the Queen’s general bursary, designated funds within faculties, and existing named funds. Donors can also create new student awards and make planned gifts through the Promise Campaign.

To illustrate the importance of student aid, the Office of Advancement has compiled stories from Queen’s students and alumni whose lives have been changed by financial aid for education. Telling his story in his own words, Kevin Bailie, who earned both his bachelor’s and law degrees at Queen’s, says: “Receiving financial assistance was important for me. I don’t come from a lot of money, and financial aid helped to get me here and also to alleviate some stress once I was here. It let me focus on things that are important, as opposed to more urgent things, that are more conducive to me bettering myself. I have never lost sight of how fortunate I am to have received it.”

Vice-Principal of the Office of Advancement Karen Bertrand says any gift to student aid helps – whether it be contributing to existing bursaries and funds, or creating new bursaries.

“A Queen’s education has the potential to have a transformational impact on the lives of our students and their communities and the world,” says Vice-Principal Bertrand. “We do not want financial barriers to prevent talented students from attending Queen’s.” 

People interested in learning more about the Promise Campaign can find more information on the campaign’s website.

Promise Scholars program

One of the primary goals of the Promise Campaign will be to secure funding for long-term support of the university’s Promise Scholars program, which was officially announced in September. The first of its kind in Canada, the Promise Scholars program is designed to reduce financial barriers and increase access to Queen’s for local, first-generation students. Full funding for tuition, fees, books, and supplies, together with financial support for residence and a living allowance in years two, three and four, will ensure that students in the program can benefit from the full Queen’s undergraduate experience.

As it can be difficult for some first-generation students to navigate the challenges and opportunities that arise when attending university, the Promise Scholars program provides dedicated support to set students up for success. In addition to financial assistance, the Promise Scholars program will connect students with advisors for guidance on academics, financial planning, and career preparation. Students will also receive support from peer advisors and will be connected to the Queen’s alumni community and other professional networks.

Recognizing the importance of career experience, Promise Scholars will also have paid summer internships after years one, two, and three.

“I think the Promise Scholars initiative is a tremendous step in the right direction. Having spent the last number of years working with students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, I have become tremendously aware of the barriers they face every step of the way. We look forward to seeing this program flourish over the next few years,” says Brent Pickering, Principal of Alternative and Community Education with Limestone District School Board.

Prospective eligible students can request to be considered for the Promise Scholars program when they apply to first-entry undergraduate programs at Queen’s. In order to be eligible for consideration, applicants must receive admission to a Queen’s first-year undergraduate degree program, be a first-generation student from the local region, and have a family income of $50,000 or less. Additional information about the program can be found on the Promise Scholars webpage.

The first cohort of Promise Scholars will join the Class of 2024 in September 2020.