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Students pay it forward to their peers

A group of students is organizing a campaign to support financial assistance at Queen's. 

The cost of a university education can be intimidating, but a group of Queen’s students is working to make tuition expenses less of an obstacle for their peers.

The group is called Students for Students (SFS), and it has been led by five Queen’s students. To kick off their work, they have started an online initiative to drive donations to the Queen’s General Bursary, which provides non-repayable grants to students in all years of study who demonstrate financial need.

On their website, SFS is asking students to consider taking the savings that they will receive from the provincial government’s recent 10 per cent reduction in tuition fees and pay it forward to the bursary. SFS is hoping that such donations will help students who may be affected this coming academic year by recent changes to the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).

If students or their families cannot part with the full savings from the fee reduction, SFS says even modest contributions can be meaningful. “Even though $5 may not pay off someone’s tuition, it is enough to show that you care – that Queen’s cares – about the success of every member in our community,” SFS says on their website.

The Queen’s General Bursary is run through the Office of the University Registrar in the Division of Student Affairs, which, along with the Office of Advancement, has been working with SFS since the organizers first introduced the idea in a social media post in January.  

“At Queen’s we are committed to making education as accessible as possible, and we are pleased to support Students for Students to help achieve this goal,” said Teresa Alm, Associate University Registrar (Student Awards). “This is a great peer leadership initiative that reflects the generosity and public-mindedness of our students.”

The Queen’s General Bursary is one of the many programs that the university has in place to help students with demonstrated financial need manage the costs of university. The Student Awards website lists a number of these opportunities, such as admissions awards, upper year awards, and the Queen’s Work Study Program.  Each year, Queen’s provides millions of dollars in financial assistance to students.

SFS will not be alone in its work to increase the level of support that Queen’s can offer students. Queen’s University will launch a campaign this fall to provide students with greater financial assistance, which the Gazette will share details about in the coming weeks.