By Brad Whitehouse
Associate News Editor
Last year Ryerson Unversity wrote Jared Epp a no-strings-attached cheque for $7,000. Epp wasn’t a Ryerson professor, or an employee of any kind for that matter. He is an engineering student, and one of the winners of the President’s National Scholarship.
“It was weird cashing the cheque at the bank because they said ‘usually people pay towards university,’ and I said ‘no, the university is paying me.’ They were hesitant,” said Epp.
Valued at $40,000, the President’s National Scholarship is awarded to five firstyear students and is paid out at $10,000 a year. But forty grand more than covers tuition. The rest of the cash can be picked up at the student services office, no questions asked.
Ryerson automatically deducted first semester’s tuition charged on Epp’s RAMSS account and handed him the rest.
For Josephine Cusumano, a third-year urban and regional planning student, her entire tuition is deducted. Each year, she gets a cheque for about $3,000.
“I can literally do what I want with it,” said Cusumano, who won the scholarship in 2008. “I just pick it up at student services.”
She spends the money on books, transit passes, and computer software for her program, but doesn’t have to show any receipts or proof of purchase.
“We don’t put any rules around what they can use it for,” says Vice Provost, Students Heather Lane Vetere. “It’s like a prize.”
Epp put the money towards paying for residence last year. So did one of this year’s winners, first-year business management student Adam Leroux. But the money isn’t a giveaway. In order to be able to apply, all three had to have an average above 90 per cent in grade 12. They also had to include a list of extra-curriculars and a personal essay on creativity.
And in order to keep the cash flowing, students have to maintain a 3.67 grade point average.
“To be quite honest, a lot of the people from my year — I know some of them haven’t been able to renew it because 3.67 is a really high GPA,” said Cusumano.
This year, Epp missed the cut off by a few grade points, but he says he’s not too disheartened.
He hasn’t looked into whether or not he’ll be able to renew his scholarship in third year.
“I wasn’t counting on getting the scholarship,” he said. “I just got lucky, I guess.”
Photo: Chris Dale