Scholarship rules under review

By Andrea Bundon

Regulations at the University of Calgary governing Spring and Summer courses are currently under fire.

Although courses taken during the Spring and Summer sessions are factored into students’ GPA for academic reviews and count towards graduation requirements, they are not considered when applying for scholarships. The Students’ Academic Assembly recently passed a resolution to change this.

A lingering perception that these courses are ‘GPA boosters’ may be at the root of the problem.

"I think there’s a perception that the Spring and Summer courses are easier," said Students’ Union Vice-president Academic Nic Porco. "The reality is that you’re concentrating much more on the material in a compressed time frame."

A clause in the resolution mandates that students must still complete 4.5 full course credits during the Fall and Winter semesters. Students also have to meet full time status during Spring or Summer before the courses are factored into their scholarship GPA. This means at least two courses must be taken in the session before they count.

"If you are a part-time student at any time it’s going to be easier," said Gavin Preston, the SU Academic Commissioner who presented the resolution. "We don’t want to disadvantage students who are full-time."

There is some concern that the resolution will not meet the needs of many U of C students.

"I think the resolution is advantageous to people who have the luxury to take a full semester," said Chris Blaschuk, the SAA Engineering Faculty Representative. "[According to the resolution] I could take two courses in the Spring and they would count, whereas one course in each Spring and Summer don’t."

The resolution is seen as a step in the right direction by many members of the SAA and the Students’ Legislative Council but fails to address some of the real problems associated with scholarships. Over half of U of C students work part-time or full-time which could conceivably lead to a lighter course load. The average student takes 8.4 half courses during the Fall and Winter semesters and therefore does not meet the minimum requirements for scholarships.

At the last BoG meeting, U of C President Harvey Weingarten committed to developing and promoting more scholarships and bursaries to assist students with rising tuition.

"It’s quite the situation," said SU President Barb Wright. "[The U of C] is trying to offer more scholarships when the majority of students don’t qualify."

The resolution will be presented to the Academic Awards Committee for further consideration.

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