March 8, 2013 - 7:10am

NANAIMO, BC – A group of 13 Vancouver Island University students can breathe easier and focus on their post-secondary studies without financial worries.

That’s because they received entrance scholarships to VIU worth approximately $3,500 each and renewable for up to five years.

Nanaimo students Carly Breault (Nanaimo Christian School), Jenelle Lepage (Nanaimo District Secondary) and Scott Jensen (Woodlands Secondary) all received President’s Entrance Scholarships for being the top academic students at their respective high schools. Emily Johnston (Dover Bay Secondary) received a VIU Chancellor’s Award Scholarship for Aboriginal students.

These and other scholarship recipients from Vancouver Island communities, as well as Penticton, Calgary and Winnipeg, were recognized at a President’s reception at VIU’s Nanaimo campus on Wednesday, March 6.

“We are proud of these top academic students and delighted to support them with scholarships,” said VIU President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ralph Nilson. “These students have worked very hard and we believe they deserve recognition and support in continuing their post-secondary studies without financial stress.

“As VIU grows and evolves, our priority remains directed toward the needs of our students,” Nilson added. “We anticipate many ‘Presidential Scholars’ in the years to come.”

Scholarship recipients expressed gratitude for the scholarships and relief in being able to focus on their studies without worrying about finances.

“Thanks to this award, I was able to use other funds saved for a life-changing exchange program to Beijing, China last summer,” said Breault. She plans to complete her undergraduate degree at VIU and pursue a PhD in Child Psychology at the University of California, Berkley.

Lepage, who is enrolled in the Bachelor of Science program (major in Biology), said VIU’s scholarship program will help her obtain an undergraduate degree and pursue her dream of becoming a veterinarian.

The President’s Scholarship program was created in 2008 when VIU became a full university. Awards are designed to encourage and support top scholars to continue and complete their undergraduate degrees locally at VIU.

Under the program, President’s Entrance Scholarships are awarded annually to the top academic student in each public high school on Vancouver Island and in Powell River.

Up to six Chancellor’s Award Scholarships for Aboriginal students are awarded each year to top academic applicants from First Nations communities, Friendship Centres and Metis organizations on Vancouver Island and in Powell River. Applicants can be recent graduates or mature students who are returning to school.

VIU issues up to eight annual President’s Entrance Awards for Scholar Athletes. Eligible students must be top academic varsity athletes as selected and recruited by the coaching staff in the men’s and women’s volleyball, basketball, soccer, badminton and golf programs.

The top student in each academic faculty at VIU also receives scholarships if they continue their post-secondary studies into their third year.

The President’s scholarship program covers tuition only. Additional fees, including student union fees, student activity fees and medical/dental plans must be covered by the student.

Providing students continue to meet course load requirements and maintain a first-class standing, their scholarships may be renewed for the duration of their four-year degree to a maximum of five years.

For more information, contact VIU’s Financial Aid and Awards office at (250) 740-6423 or

For more about VIU, visit


Tags: In the Community

Sign up for our VIU news and experts email