International Scholarship Fund Potentially Affected by Student Choice Initiative

An image from page 12 of Trent University's 2019-2020 Viewbook, advertising the International Program.

The International Scholarship Fund is used to support multiple scholarships that are offered to international students. In the words of Associate Vice President (AVP) Trent International, Glennice Burns, who manages the fund, its mandate is to “support our efforts to bring in international students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to come to Trent University.”

In an interview, Burns explained that there is a rigorous application and approval process. The process requires students to write multiple essays alongside their application, which are then assessed with a rubric and a matrix, as well as consultation from College Heads and faculty members.

Another factor that is considered in awarding these scholarships is that of financial need. Burns went on to say that “it’s a hard decision because there’s so many great students out there and we wish we had more money to support them.”

The option for students to cease funding the International Scholarship Fund comes at the same time that international student tuition is being raised, presumably in an effort to offset the tuition cut for domestic students. A 10 percent tuition cut for domestic students was announced in January 2019 alongside the Student Choice Initiative (SCI).

AVP Burns remained confident that the SCI will have little impact on the fund, noting that her goal has been that “starting September we would not have less money to give out because we’ve gone and found other sources to offset whatever it is.”

Burns went on to note that even with this tuition increase, Trent’s tuition rates for international students remain some of the lowest in the province.

The total tuition and related costs for full-time undergraduate international students starting at Trent this academic year will be $23990.29, while the total fee for international students who began their education at Trent prior to 2018 will be $21985.28 – an increase of $2005.01 or 9.1 percent. In comparison, the total tuition and related costs for incoming full-time undergraduate domestic students is $7822.87.

Daniela Leal is a fourth-year student from Honduras who is a recipient of one of Trent International’s scholarships, the Global Citizenship Scholarship. The International Development and Cultural Studies major shared that Trent’s scholarships made it more attractive, allowing her to feel confident that she would receive some kind of financial assistance.

She went on to note, “It’s a lot of pressure to keep those grades up as an international student because it’s a whole new system of academia. Sometimes it’s a good kind of pressure that reminds you that you can keep those grades up.”

But the Global Citizen Scholarship isn’t just about being a good student. It’s also about being a good member of the community – a component of the scholarship that “makes you ask yourself what community involvement really means, which allows you to discover this whole new thing, beyond academia,” Leal explained.

For Leal, this has meant becoming deeply involved with Trent Radio, and the Organization for Hispanic and Latino Awareness (HOLA), two experiences that have deeply enriched her time at Trent. As she enters her fourth year, Leal looks forward to continuing this community involvement, knowing she will have financial support in the process. She hopes this financial support will remain available for international students at Trent in the coming years.

About Nick Taylor 59 Articles
Nick Taylor is a queer settler living and learning in Nogojiwanong/Peterborough. He is a recent Trent alum, holding a BAH in International Development and Philosophy with a specialization in Ethics. His journalistic interests include politics, student affairs, gentrification and urbanism, and arts and culture. They write from the left of centre. (he/him/they/them)