Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

New bursary to help NAIT students in financial crisis

Students can apply to Covid-19 Student Relief Fund

NAIT students who are facing a financial crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic can apply for a new emergency bursary.

“Like many, our students are facing hardships they never imagined and we know some will have difficulty meeting their most basic needs or continuing their education.” says Robyn Khunkun, associate vice-president of advancement and alumni relations.

“The need to ease these hardships is real and urgent.”

“The need to ease these hardships is real and urgent. To support our students, we came together to create bursaries that supports those who require immediate and critical funds.”

The COVID-19 Student Relief Fund is designed to help students whose incomes have been disrupted or can’t find work after many businesses closed due to public health directives.

Students’ finances hit hard by pandemic

The bursary fund was established through the NAIT Fund, which supports critical initiatives such as student mental health services, student awards and enhancing learning spaces across campus. NAIT Students’ Association donated a matching gift of $50,000 in support of this bursary fund.

Update: Ongoing campaign to meet ongoing need

A crowdfunding campaign to support the COVID-19 Student Relief Fund wrapped up in early June as an enormous success, nearly tripling its $5,000 goal by raising $13,545.

This is on top of the $100,000 from NAITSA and the NAIT Fund.

As the need for support from students in fall 2020 is expected to be high, donations are still welcome and can be made online. What's more, they'll get into the hands of eligible students very soon upon asking.

Even though Ottawa announced funding support through programs such as the Canada Emergency Student Benefit and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), both NAIT and NAITSA felt it was important to help, Khunkun says.

Alexis Sieben, NAITSA’s acting president and vice-president internal, says several of her classmates were laid off from their part-time jobs shortly after restrictions came into effect. Students in the service industry have been hit particularly hard, she says, losing income that not only helps cover tuition and fees but everyday expenses.

“Our biggest hope is that we can help as many students as possible, maybe not in huge ways, but really help them with those bills or those unexpected expenses that are really difficult for them to cover right now,” says Sieben.

Rallying community support

Members of the community can also help students who are struggling to cover costs right now. A crowdfunding campaign launched May 15 allows anyone to contribute to the relief bursary in any amount they choose.

“We know it’s a really hard time for everybody and we just want to emphasize that 100% of donations will be going to students,” Sieben says. “Every dollar will help a student.”

“Every dollar will help a student.”

How to apply

Students experiencing urgent financial need as a result of the pandemic can contact a NAIT funding adviser to discuss options for scholarships and bursaries. Last year, NAIT supported 4,770 students with more than $6.8 million in funding.

Subscribe to receive more great stories every month

Find out more news about NAIT, stories about our alumni and their impact on their communities, and useful how-to content featuring our experts.