An undeniable fact that affects everyone planning to enter undergraduate study in Canada is that tuition fees are on the rise. According to Statistics Canada, Canadian full-time students in undergraduate programs paid, on average, $6,373 in tuition fees for the 2016/2017 academic year, 2.8% higher than the 2015/2016 average of $6,201. Engineering degrees are particularly expensive, and can run upwards of $15,000 per year for tuition alone.
This is where Schulich Leader Scholarships (SLS) comes into play. Valued at up to $100,000, scholarship winners can ensure tuition and student fees are completely covered, and our new funding levels will leave a significant balance to cover living costs and some disposable income. The thinking behind this payment structure is to ensure Canada’s best and brightest STEM students can focus their energy solely on their academics and extra-curricular passion projects.
Considering how much time a part-time job consumes from a student’s schedule, this puts a ceiling on how much attention and commitment can be applied to the university experience in the first place. That said, one can truly appreciate how liberating and empowering a fully financed university education is.
"The SLS helped provide me the security I needed to pursue summer research and put my academic growth first. I didn't have to worry about getting a job just to pay the bills, but instead was able to participate in research that helped me grow and gain experience in my field” said Kyra McLellan, a 2015 Schulich Leader studying Aerospace Engineering at York University.
Swap the added stress and hours spent financing education and replace it with time to spend on nurturing Canada’s most ambitious minds in a culture to explore and experiment and you have a recipe to accelerate the growth of this nation’s most promising minds.
There is currently no other scholarship like the SLS. Unlike the Loran Awards or TD Leadership Awards, $100,000 is really just that, money that goes directly to the student to apply to their Bachelor’s Degrees. In addition to the generosity of each individual scholarship, the program does not limit recipients to only accept this merit-based student award. Hundreds of Schulich Leaders have benefitted from additional scholarships and grants from other funding sources. Sherry Wong, a 2014 Schulich Leader at York University, won upwards of $130,000 in scholarship funding upon high school graduation. Although she did have to forfeit some of her winnings due to individual restrictions, the SLS has no issue with letting her keep what is rightfully hers.
Now in its sixth year, SLS has established itself as one of Canada’s most desirable scholarships for undergraduate students. With the SLS, you join an exclusive network of national scholars aspiring to change our country and the world for the better. The continued hike in Canada’s higher education system is not something that should deter our best and brightest innovators from reaching their true potential.