VIU Makes More Than $2.4 Million Available for Student Scholarships, Awards and Bursaries

Emily Martin is going into her third year of studies at Vancouver Island University debt-free thanks to a scholarship from the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW).

March 29, 2017 - 1:00pm

The amount available for VIU students this year is the highest ever, thanks to generous community support

For Emily Martin, a second-year student at Vancouver Island University (VIU), stressing about money is a normal occurrence.

The 19-year-old Bachelor of Arts student is paying her own way through university, and while she works at the Vancouver Island Regional Library’s Nanaimo North branch, Martin was looking into getting a student loan to help her pay for school and living expenses that were above and beyond what she was making at her part-time job. Instead, the full-time student received a $1,250 scholarship donated by the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW).

The scholarship, awarded to a top student, has allowed Martin to not only set aside her financial worries for the time being, but also explore a secondary interest. Martin is majoring in History, but she’s thinking about pursuing a minor in Women’s Studies as well.

“I am so grateful to the CFUW – this scholarship has done so much for me,” she says. “It’s given me a bit more flexibility to branch out and explore other opportunities that I might not have looked into had I just been worrying about my finances. It takes a lot of the stress off so I can concentrate on enjoying the learning that takes place here.”

Martin’s scholarship is one of several scholarships and awards the CFUW has set up at VIU. The University is celebrating an exciting milestone this year – for the first time ever, the amount of scholarships, awards and bursaries available to VIU students climbed to more than $2.4 million.

“We are starting to see larger donations from community members and groups who want to make a meaningful difference in a student’s life, which is one reason for the increase,” says William Litchfield, VIU Foundation Executive Director. “However, we’re also seeing a significant increase in student need – scholarship, award and bursary applications are up more than 600 per cent. We will continue to seek additional sources of funding from our community partners and donors to support the growing needs of our students and programs.”

VIU is a leader in developing new programs and strategies to support access to university education for low-income and vulnerable populations. For example, VIU was the first post-secondary institution in BC to launch a tuition waiver program for students who have grown up in the foster care system, and the program continues to be the largest in the province.

The Advancement and Alumni Relations Office identifies the needs of the student population and then works with individuals, businesses and community groups to fulfill those specific needs – an approach Litchfield thinks is also contributing to the steady increase in scholarships.

“Whether donors choose to fully fund an award or contribute to a fund that supports various awards, each and every gift, no matter the size, makes an impact,” says Litchfield.

The VIU Scholarship, Award and Bursary Program is funded by a combination of University funds, government grants and private donations. Scholarships are based on academic excellence, bursaries consider financial need and awards recognize academic and extra-curricular achievements as specified by donors. Students apply by logging into their student record and filling out the Scholarship, Award and Bursary Profile, which is used to shortlist eligible students and match them to available awards. Students can contact the Financial Aid & Awards Office with any questions about the process. The application deadline for the next round of scholarships and awards is this Friday (March 31). 

For more information, visit To discuss setting up an award, scholarship or bursary, please contact Susie at 250.740.6216.

To view this press release online, visit VIU News.




Jenn McGarrigle, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.740.6559 | C: 250.619.6860 | E: | T: @VIUNews

Tags: Student Success

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