NIC Scholarship season

With over $250,000 available in scholarships and bursaries

With over $250,000 available in scholarships and bursaries North Island College looks to inject growth into the community.

The application season for these scholarships started March 31.

Students can apply online through a single application process, something that allows the college to reach the greatest amount of applicants, said Susan Auchterlonie, executive director of the North Island College Foundation.

With individual scholarships ranging up to $2,500, students both young and old, are being urged by the college to take advantage of these opportunities.

Through the North Island Foundation NIC is able to provide assistance to over 300 students a year.

The scholarships and bursaries can mean the difference in a student being able to attend post-secondary school or not.

The scholarships are “absolutely essential to the students attending North Island College who have one of the highest rates of having to take out  student loans in the province,” said Auchterlonie.

Last year, 330 students received a total of $260,000 in support, covering such costs as tuition, books, and living expenses.

In the past 10 years, the NIC Foundation has provided $1.95 million to nearly 3,000 carpenters, electricians, cooks, welders, accountants, nurses, educational assistants, small business owners, artists, and tourism providers.

As the “core providers” of post-secondary education on the island, NIC Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Randall Heidt says, “we know our students represent potential in our communities. An investment in their future strengthens us all.”

“(Providing education) comes with a great deal of responsibility,” said Auchterlonie

“We want to be responsive. We want to provide relevant education and we want to provide access to students on the North Island.”

What’s unique about the  NIC Foundation scholarships and bursaries is that they are funded purely from the private sector.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of North Island College. Over the years, NIC has been innovative in its approach to providing educational opportunities  to students.

For instance, in 1981, NIC purchased a ‘tutor ship’, a 160-foot ex-whale catcher, the Samarinda.

The refitted ship transported tutors to coastal communities on the North Island allowing for increased exposure to educational opportunities.

Those interested in applying for scholarships and bursaries must do so before April 30, 2015 and can fill in the required application form at www.nic.bc.ca/awards.