Millennium no more

When the time comes to make decisions about university applications, feelings of confusion are hard to avoid for many Grade 12 students.

But they can also be alleviated with the help of high school guidance councilors and the information they provide for future undergrads.

“My guidance office has been very helpful in helping me apply to scholarships as they email me and make announcements frequently to make me aware of them,” said Karen Carlton, a Grade 12 student at Woburn Collegiate Institute . “But they haven’t really said that much about specific scholarships that only certain people can apply to, just general scholarships.”

Carlton has already applied to several universities, including Western, Queens, and McMaster. She hopes to be accepted into the medical, life, or health sciences programs with the help of her parents’ savings plans.

As the expiration of the Millennium Scholarship quickly approaches – it will be out of effect by 2009 – many students like Carlton feel they don’t really have options in financial help.

“I wish they would give more information on specific scholarships, such as ones for sports,” said Carlton. She applied for the Millennium Scholarship last December, in hopes of scooping up one of their financial subsidies.

Ummaiya Sivarajah, who plans to attend University of Toronto at Scarborough’s life sciences program next fall, said that she did apply for the Millennium scholarship too but that the government needs to come up with more options for students struggling with tuition fees.

“I think [the new grant program] encourages more responsibility,” said Sivarajah, a Woburn Collegiate Grade 12 student. “It’s going to force students to work harder.”

The new Canada Student Grant program, which will replace the Millennium Scholarship, will fund students with $100 to $250 per month. It will also require some sort of level of reporting as to how the money is spent.

Many of the graduating students at Woburn C.I. were surprised to hear that the Millennium Scholarship ends next year. For some, it used to be another source of financial aid to look forward to.

“I think they need to make more scholarships – there’s the Millennium and OSAP, which isn’t a scholarship really,” said Sivarajah. She was disappointed with the lack of choices she and her peers had in terms of getting assistance for the cost of university.

The Canada Student Grant program, which will be a permanent fraction of the federal budget, goes into effect next year.