By Alexandra Holyk
Ryerson University’s Spanning the Gaps program has just received a $1 million donation from the TD Bank Group in an effort to help adult learners further their education and grow their careers.
As part of TD’s initiative, The Ready Commitment, $1 billion will be provided to various areas of community giving by 2030 through an annual challenge. According to the website, the competition seeks to financially support “up to 10 eligible organizations with innovative solutions focused on helping create greater income stability.”
Spanning the Gaps has been selected as one out of ten programs that will receive a $1 million donation as part of the 2019 TD Ready Challenge. The nearly 12-year-old program strives to provide mature students that may have educational gaps and/or lack formal admissions requirements with a post-secondary education through The Chang School for Continuing Education.
Majority of the funds will be donated to Spanning the Gaps’ Transition Foundations Program. Through this part-time program that spans over one to two years, students are able to take non-traditional, yet transitional pathways to obtain a post-secondary degree. They are enrolled in credit courses and are given academic and non-academic support throughout.
Third-year business management student, Eduardo Rodriguez, completed the Transition Foundations Program in 2016. He mentioned the positive experience he had, and the significant impact TD’s donation will have on Spanning the Gaps in the upcoming fall semester.
“Not being able to afford tuition should never be a barrier to anyone looking to earn an education”
“[The program staff] make you feel like you can succeed in university when the rest of the world already gave up on you,” Rodriguez told The Eyeopener. “This $1 million donation comes at a critical time as well…this ensures that mature students won’t be impacted by the [Ontario government’s tuition] cuts, and [will] still have the supports they need.”
Another portion of the money will be set aside for Spanning the Gaps entrance awards and undergraduate bursaries as part of Ryerson’s President’s Awards to Champion Excellence (PACE) initiative, allowing under-represented students to access higher education.
According to Ryerson Today, “the TD donation will also provide eligible graduates of the program with continuity of support as they go on to pursue their degree at Ryerson.”
As Rodriguez mentioned, this donation comes just as impending tuition cuts enacted by the provincial government pose a threat to adult students, especially those who heavily rely on bursaries and awards provided by Spanning the Gaps.
Since the program is not funded by OSAP, cuts to the bursaries may lead to students being unable to afford their tuition, Rodriguez said. “Not being able to afford tuition should never be a barrier to anyone looking to earn an education.”