Many students find beginning post-secondary school to be a challenge. They may be moving away from home for the first time or dealing with their first taste of real independence. One thing they shouldn’t have to worry about is money – and with all the bursaries and scholarships available for Six Nations students, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Dawn Martin, a Six Nations student entering her third year at Trent University admits “that it takes a lot of time and effort” to get bursaries and scholarships. She’s put in over a hundred hours writing the required essays and obtaining references, but it’s definitely been worth it. Martin graduated high school with over 700 volunteer hours, earning over $12,000 in awarded money from seven separate awards for her first year of university.
Aboriginal Guidance Counsellor Melissa Turner from Hagersville Secondary School recommends students from Six Nations start by accessing funding through places like Indspire. Indspire is an indigenous-led charity that seeks to inspire achievement and education, while investing in indigenous people for the long-term benefit of these individuals and their families.
“Always start with Inspire, because they have published on their website so many scholarships that aren’t even necessarily through them, but they’ve still advertised for them. So, these are not all necessarily Indspire’s awards, but these are scholarships from all over,” said Turner.
“The next place I’d go to is AMSSA online. They’re a huge guide, mostly out West, but nonetheless they have tons of scholarships and bursaries listed right across North America,” she continued.
AMMSA is the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society Association, which is available as an online site for all to “inform, impact and inspire.”
“If you have students going to school in the States, that’s an excellent place to look, because they have so many scholarships listed there for Canada and the U.S.,” Turner said. “Now in terms of aboriginal scholarships, those are probably the two best resources you can find.”
“For Six Nations kids, the next place I would go to is Grand River Post Secondary Education Office (GRPSEO) because they’ll have scholarships listed just for Six Nations kids,” Turner continued.
GRPSEO offers financial education assistance to those students desiring to continue their education into post-secondary, and is readily accessible online and at Six Nations Polytechnic.
Turner says that institutional managed scholarships are also available. “So if you’re applying like, to Niagara College or Western University, I would get in touch with their aboriginal student coordinator there and find out about scholarships. I would check specifically with the program you are applying into as well for scholarships and bursaries.”
Turner explained that the most successful students to have been awarded large sums of money, were those that applied to everything. “And you know what, I would apply for everything, because they still say that there are hundreds of thousands of dollars that go unclaimed in scholarships. So even if you feel like, say you’re going into engineering but it’s a banking scholarship, I would still apply,” Turner said.
She agrees that most venues offering money that are not applied to by someone qualified, will still award the money to an applicant. “That’s just it, they’d rather give the money away than keep it. So, just apply to everything,” she explained. Turner continued to explain that earning bursary and scholarship money does take focus and work, but it can be done.