Scholarship changes mean more cash for first-years

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Changes in the Rutherford Scholarship, available to high school students entering post-secondary, will make tuition costs a little bit easier to swallow for some--$1,300 easier to be exact.

Previously, the grade 12 portion of the scholarship was dependent on an average of 80 per cent or higher in five designated subjects. In addition to those five courses, up to two option courses, such as art and music, are now eligible.

"The purpose [of the changes] was to bring the grade 12 requirements to the same place that they are at for students in grades 10 and 11," noted Alberta Advanced Education spokesperson Cam Traynor.

The scholarships are available to Alberta Students and are worth $400 for grade 10 students attaining the required marks, $800 for grade 11 students, and $1,300 for grade 12 students. Students can earn a total of $2,500 if they qualify all three years.

"About 800 more grade 12 students this year are expected to receive the award," said Traynor. "Roughly 10,700 students will receive a Rutherford Scholarship this year."

The changes are estimated to cost an additional $1 million, which is included in the new post-secondary affordability framework released Fri., Nov. 3.

Still, some high school students preparing for university think the expanded eligibility will do little to help them afford their education.

"It's about time they did something about the cost of education," said Sir Winston Churchill high school grade 12 student Jesse Somers. "But aside from the first year, it won't change anything."