Organizations separate from and within the University of Winnipeg (U of W) provide an extra financial boost for students who need it.
Rise Above is a not-for-profit, volunteer-run organization in Winnipeg that provides bursaries to single parents who exhibit financial needs. According to Cara Ginter, the president of Rise Above, applicants for bursaries must be attending the U of W, the University of Manitoba, or Red River College.
“In the last three years, we’ve distributed almost $15,000,” Ginter says.
Ginter cites the 2011 Canadian National Household Survey, saying that “the average employment income in female single-parent families with children under six years of age is only $21,200.” The Rise Above website compares this to the average income of male single-parent families, which is $43,300.
Ginter believes there should be a way to help young parents like this support their families, while attending post-secondary education
to earn a higher income.
“We believe that when we help a single parent achieve their educational goals, we impact the financial future of the entire family,” she says.
“Children (who) grow up in a financially stable home are more likely to be able to reach their own educational goals. We want to help build a foundation for multi-generational success,” Ginter says on behalf of the six Rise Above board members.
Rise Above’s bursaries are not like other financial aids that might be issued through a university institution in that they do not require that the recipients put the money towards tuition, Ginter says.
“We trust (recipients) to know best where the funds should go, whether that be tuition and books or rent, daycare or groceries,” she says.
Kevin Rosen, the executive director of marketing and communications at U of W lists the university’s Work-Study Program as another resource for students in financial need. Full-time U of W students have the opportunity to apply for part-time, on-campus jobs through the program, Rosen says.
“The Work-Study Program helps students meet their expenses during the academic year by providing a source of income,” Rosen says. “Depending on the opportunity, it may also provide work experience in the student’s area of study, as a number of the positions are program-related.”
Rosen lists positions such as research assistant, assistant technician and office assistant as a few examples of past Work-Study placements. Whether through the university or through outside organizations like Rise Above, students have many options for financial aid.
Rise Above will host a craft sale to fundraise for their 2019-2020 bursary, Ginter says.
“Additionally, we accept donations all year through our website,” Ginter says. “We are 100 per cent volunteer-based, and we keep organization costs low, which means donations are used to actually help single parents, not pay salaries.”