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How to get some free money

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On Fri. June 15, students will be rushing to the university's Awards and Financial Aid office to hand in their applications for undergraduate student awards. There are hundreds of awards waiting for all different types of students--this translates into free money for those who qualify.

However, that grade point average boost you're expecting from this spring semester and those two A's you got last summer aren't going to help you get your hands on any of that cash. The University of Calgary has a policy against counting spring and summer courses towards scholarships or bursaries.

To qualify for most bursaries and scholarships, students are required to have taken nine half-courses over the 2000/2001 fall and winter semesters. Scholarships also require students to have maintained a 3.2 GPA, while bursaries require a 2.6 GPA, combined with financial need. Your spring and summer courses do not count towards any of this.

To us in the Students' Union, this policy seems unfair. As long as students are paying the same amount for their spring/summer courses and working hard for their grades, these courses should be considered equal to fall and winter semester courses. Thus, spring and summer courses should count equally towards all scholarship requirements and especially towards the calculation of a student's GPA.

Students take spring and summer courses for a variety of reasons, but often to improve their GPA, to make up for a poor fall or winter semester, or to complete their degrees faster. These efforts should be recognized when it comes to scholarships and bursaries, not ignored as they currently are.

With a small push from the Student Academic Assembly, the university has begun the long process of a policy review. These potential changes won't, however, have any effect on those students applying for undergraduate awards this year. For better or for worse, you are applying solely on the strength of your fall and winter semesters.

Nonetheless, the Students' Union would like to encourage all undergraduate students to apply for 2001/2002 scholarships and bursaries. Applying is free, and filling out one for--which you can pick up at the Awards and Financial Aid office or download from www.ucalgary.ca/uofc/students/awards/application.html--will put your name in for all undergraduate awards offered by the University.

Just make sure you get that form handed in by June 15!

Barb Wright can be reached at studun@ucalgary.ca.

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