Courtenay is changing its student bursary program.
And that will benefit both students and city hall staff.
Council agreed Monday night to support the changes proposed by Dave Snider, director of recreation and cultural services.
Since 2004, the city has been committing annual funds towards the bursary to encourage youth community involvement, as well as help students in their pursuit of post-secondary education.
The awards started in grade 9 and were cumulative, allowing students to receive a maximum of four awards to a total of $1,000 when they graduated.
The funds awarded in grades 9, 10 and 11 were held in trust by the City until the recipient graduated.
At the time, only three schools were eligible: Mark R. Isfeld, Georges P. Vanier and Lake Trail Middle School.
The new program will award $1,000 bursaries to qualifying grad students in grade 12, with one each going to Glacier View Secondary, Vanier, Isfeld, Nala’atsi Alternate School, and Navigate (NIDES).
The goals of the program are still the same, however – to encourage continuous community involvement and volunteerism, and to inspire successful academic standing.
The new policy requires that the bursaries aren’t awarded until a student’s enrolment in a post-secondary institution is confirmed, “so that the funds come when they’re most needed.”
The report noted that the total cost estimate to attend one year at the University of Victoria was $17,100, and $6,080 to $8,600 to attend North Island College.
“I thought it was a great change to something we don’t pay a lot of attention to,” said Counc. David Frisch.
Snider said the changes were partly initiated on a recommendation from Counc. Erik Eriksson to increase the bursary amounts.
“The way it’s currently administrated actually created some administrative burden as well. By moving forward to grade 12, we could find a greater yield by student, and less administrative time as well,” he said.
Snider noted in his report that there would be a saving in staff time used on the program as bursaries won’t need to be tracked before a recipient’s graduating year.
The new program comes into effect for the 2017-18 school year.