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by Mallory Kosterski

Do you own a Student Price Card? Are you an organ donor activist? Perhaps a varsity fencer? Students who answer yes to one or all of these questions are eligible for money from scholarships and bursaries.

A multitude of scholarships and bursaries are waiting for applicants but wading through the lists to find a suitable fit takes time, determination, and a lot of patience.

“If you put the effort in, you can get whatever you’re looking for,” says Shaun T’Souza, a second-year RTA student who worked part-time at Loblaws. He received $2000 from Fortino’s Scholarship program for employees. But T’Souza’s not alone. Many of his friends receive hundreds of dollars in scholarships each year because they take the time to look around, he says.

In fact, you may be surprised at how many organizations out there are willing to cough up some cash for aspiring academics. For instance, Student Price card owners can apply for $500 bursaries and is offering two scholarships ranging in value from $500 to $1000 for youth aiming to increase the number of organ donors.

“If you’re in a specific program, ethnic background, or belong to a specific organization; like if you’re a Girl Guide… there’s a scholarship,” says Sarah Sears, community administrative programming assistant at Ryerson.

Websites such as or offer another way for students to search through the jackpot of unique scholarships.

“So many of these scholarships are under applied for, or nobody applies for them, so if you have the time … then what’s the harm?” Sears says.

But to start, students should definitely apply for the Ryerson University bursary, Sears says.

“It’s free money. As far as I know, they try to give something to every student who shows financial need,” she says.

But don’t stop there. Both student unions are offering bursaries this year. The Ryerson Students’ Union will be offering almost $40,000 in bursaries this year.

“We do this every year, and it will continue for many more,” said Ram Sivapalan, vice-president finance and services. “With the cost of school going up, people can’t afford an education anymore. They need to look for other ways to pay for school. And our bursaries are one way to help.”

Any full-time student with a minimum GPA of 2.0 and who expresses financial need is eligible for one of 75 bursaries. The Continuing Education Students Association of Ryerson offers a similar program with bursaries of $600 each. Both deadlines fall in mid-to-late November.

Still, many students aren’t taking advantage of the cash everyone’s throwing at them.

“It takes a lot of time to (apply),” says Shane Harris, a fouth-year student in Electrical engineering who sticks to OSAP because it’s a less time consuming way to rope in money. “I know there’s bursaries out there I could apply for, but it’s too much work.”

Students such as T’Souza think it’s worth the work. Especially since he says you only have to write the application essays once. And if ever an essay was worth writing, it’s one that lands you $2,000.

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