New program sets out to help students make most of schooling

Students can now get some extra help pursuing learning opportunities outside of SAIT with the new SAITSA Student Grant Program.

“Students can apply for funding for personal and professional development and now we have a grant program for that,” said Alysson Torres-Gillett, SAITSA VP Academic.

This program is open to all SAITSA fee-paying members.

Students can receive up to $500 per academic year for full-time students and up to $250 for part-time students.

“Students can apply for funding for personal and professional development and now we have a grant program for that.

This money can be used for accommodation, travel expenses and registration fees for events that include but are not limited to, school related conferences, competitions, industry events, certification training, seminars and other events for student development. Meal expenses are not covered by the grant.

“There’s funding for things [students] want to do outside of their program but might be deterred from doing it because they don’t have the funds,” said Torres-Gillett.

Students are eligible up to four months after completion of their program of study.

Jessica Powell, SAITSA policy development coordinator, was in charge of researching other schools with similar programs.

Other schools with similar grant programs include the University of Calgary Students’ Union, Dalhousie Student Union, University of Manitoba Graduate Students’ Association, British Columbia Institute of Technology Student Association and the Students’ Association of MacEwan University.

As a student, Powell went to Model United Nations conferences. Her student union did not offer a student grant program.

“It was really important for me to go to these conferences because I felt like it was a networking opportunity for me. I was able to learn so much outside of a classroom setting to develop different skill sets, but I never had any funding, I had to pay for it all myself,” said Powell.

“That was tough because a lot of the time it was in a different province and you had to pay for a train-fare, your hotel and your food and it’s an expensive weekend. It adds up.”

The process for receiving funding requires students fill out the online application, then fill out the post event feedback form and provide itemized receipts of expenses 30 days after the event.

Students are reimbursed after all of the receipts are submitted. It is recommended to apply for events four weeks before the event. Applications can be submitted after an event as long as that event took place in the current grant period.

The grant periods for this year will be running from September to December 2017, January to April 2018 and May to August 2018.

“We did try to make it as specific to SAIT students as we could,” said Powell.

If student clubs are applying to go to an event it should be noted that each student must apply individually and only five students will receive funding per event.

“I know that $500 isn’t a ton of money but I know it’s enough that they would be able to still do something outside of their program to better themselves and better themselves professionally,” said Powell.

Students can visit the SAITSA website, select the Student Services tab and click on the Grant Funding Program to access a student grant form.

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