Sheridan Colleges Creates COVID-19 Emergency Financial Aid Bursary

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Despite Sheridan College shutting down its campuses during the COVID-19 crisis, the educational institution is offering aid to students facing financial hardship or are without a laptop computer or the Internet as they embrace distance learning.

"Students are at the centre of everything we do at Sheridan. The pandemic has caused additional stress for learners who are now facing unexpected obstacles and constraints. This bursary will help us sustain the basic conditions that fuel our learners’ success," Dr. Janet Morrison, president and vice chancellor of Sheridan, said in a statement.

Sheridan students can now apply to a newly-launched COVID-19 Emergency Financial Aid Bursary, launched with $1 million provided by private donor support and funding from the Ontario provincial government.

Canadian and international students can apply for up to $1,500 to help with immediate needs like food and housing, especially if they no longer have part-time jobs and struggle to pay their rent. 

"Others may lack access to technology, software or the Internet – especially with public libraries and campuses closed – in order to participate in remote learning. The fund may also be used to offset expenses related to traveling home," Sheridan said in an April 1 press release.

The college on its website on April 2 said its campuses will remain closed until further notice.

"This means that students and staff are not allowed on campus. Please practice physical distancing and adhere to public health recommendations. We all have a part to play in protecting the health of our communities," the COVID-19 update stated. 

The college, which as three campuses in Oakville, Brampton and Mississauga, Ontario, said over 110 people had already donated to the Sheridan bursary fund.

Stress and even mental health issues are common for students at Sheridan and other universities as they complete their studies and look ahead to future careers.

The COVID-19 crisis has only compounded that stress for Sheridan students as many, and especially international students, find themselves far from their families.

In addition, most international students at Sheridan come from India and China, both of which have been, or could possibly be heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Sheridan on its website says it has around 7,500 international student from around 100 countries on its campuses.

The college, having gone online with its courses and exams, is aiming to complete its winter semester by April 17. And the school has a program that makes a limited laptop computers available to students on loan and on a first-come, first-served basis.

"I continue to be inspired by the creativity, ingenuity and compassion that personifies our Sheridan community. This pandemic is bigger than any of us. I am more certain than ever that harnessing our collective capacity and demonstrating compassion are the keys to navigating this uncharted territory successfully," Morrison added.

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