David Saunders, PhD candidate, and Dijana Sneath, first-year psychology student, spoke about their experiences receiving SIOS program scholarships at the launch of the fundraising campaign
Saskatoon – The University of Saskatchewan launched a campaign today designed to provide increased scholarship support to students to recognize innovation and excellence and to help ensure financial constraints do not present a barrier to post-secondary education.
The new Innovation and Opportunity Matching Campaign will take advantage of a provincial government program that matches scholarship money raised by the university to a maximum of $2 million per year in the areas of innovation and strategic priority to the institution. For Heather Magotiaux, vice-president of advancement and community engagement, bringing together donors and the Government of Saskatchewan in support of student success has enormous potential for the University of Saskatchewan.
“As a leading research-intensive university, we have numerous donor-funded scholarships in innovative fields that meet the criteria for the government’s matching program,” she said. “Our goal is to significantly expand the support this institution, its government partner and its donors can provide our students.”
In the 2012-13 school year alone some 1,500 U of S students received $4 million in scholarships as a result of this partnership, with $2 million raised by the university and $2 million contributed through the government’s Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship matching program. Those students represent a remarkable seven per cent of the university’s undergraduate population and 10 per cent of its graduate students, noted Patti McDougall, vice-provost of teaching and learning.
“We are extremely grateful to be able to partner in this way with the province,” McDougall said. “We are thrilled at the number of students who received much-needed financial support through this innovative matching program in the last year and we look forward to seeing that number grow.”
International student Dijana Sneath has benefited from the program as winner of a $20,000 United World College Excellence award for the 2013-14 school year. Originally from New Zealand, Dijana began her studies in the social sciences at the Saskatoon campus this past fall. “I am studying psychology in order to develop a greater understanding of cognitive function, and I hope to later specialise in neuroplasticity.” She said, “I was inspired by my own sister, who lives with Down syndrome, and I would like to help other children with disabilities. Thanks to the SIOS program, I am making my dreams a reality.”
The government’s annual scholarship matching program focuses on supporting students in two key areas of study – innovative biotechnology, environment, engineering, medicine and science programs, and areas of top priority to the institution. For the U of S, this includes entrance and continuing scholarships in programs across the university, as well as scholarships to support graduate students and Huskie athletes. The scholarship program also supports international education for Canadian students studying abroad or foreign students studying here in Saskatchewan.
“This matching program has been incredibly successful here in acknowledging academic achievement or meeting financial need,” said Magotiaux. “Our supporters will recognize the added value their donation will have on students when their support is doubled through the new Innovation and Opportunity Matching Campaign. It will be another example of how important donors and partners are to our students and their university experience.”
The Government of Saskatchewan created the matching program in 2011 and partnered with post-secondary institutions across the province to distribute $3 million annually to match donations made by private-sector and community-based partners.
“The University of Saskatchewan has done an outstanding job finding community and industry partners to match the scholarship money provided by the Province for the Saskatchewan Innovation and Opportunity Scholarship program,” Advanced Education Minister Rob Norris said. “Many current and future Saskatchewan students will benefit from this scholarship program, allowing them to succeed in their post-secondary education and succeed in starting a career right here at home.”
Donors can make gifts to the campaign online at usask.ca/sios.
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