Interior Savings Credit Union (ISCU) has a million dollars in bursaries available for area students who are graduating in 2017 and continuing on to post-secondary education; and Corinne Johnson, manager of community engagement for ISCU, says that this year they want to give away the full million.
In 2012 ISCU announced the Million Dollar Bursary, and said they would have that amount in bursaries available each year for four years. It took two years to get the word out to students and their families, but 857 bursaries worth $1,000 each were awarded to students in 2016.
In November 2016, ISCU surpassed a total of $1 million in awards since the program was launched. Kaitlyn Schrauwen of Kamloops was the one-thousandth recipient of a bursary, and to celebrate the milestone ISCU doubled her bursary award to $2,000.
Over the last three years, every student who applied to the program and met the eligibility requirements received a bursary. “The student needs to be going full-time to a post-secondary institution: university, college, or trades school,” says Johnson. She suggests checking the list of eligible institutions at StudentAidBC (https://studentaidbc.ca/apply/designated) to see which ones qualify.
Applicants must be between 17 and 24, and have an account at any Interior Savings Credit Union branch. Students who do not have an account can qualify by getting one by February 1, 2017. Johnson says the account is a no-fee one that includes a debit card, and that account holders only have to do two transactions per month in order to meet the eligibility criteria. The “two transaction” requirement is waived for students who have already had an ISCU account for three or more years.
Johnson says that the decision about whether or not to continue the bursary program after 2017 will be a decision of the ISCU board. “The board will probably look at this by the middle of this year.”
She adds that parents are very happy about the program. “I’ve had parents ask me ‘Is it really this easy?’”
Although the deadline for applications is May 1, 2017, more than 400 have already been received, so anyone wanting to apply is encouraged to do so quickly. “I hope we get more and more applicants,” says Johnson. “I hate to see money left on the table at the end.”