Scholarships and Bursaries


Project Overview

University is a significant investment for students. Some have no choice but to take on debt, while others must juggle part-time jobs with their studies.

Financial support may be all they need to reach their potential. Your investment ensures the talents of students are not wasted but harnessed for the betterment of our communities and the world.

A Gift that Builds a Dream

Kaylan Burns was 13 years old when her mom gave her the money talk. The teenager had just started babysitting but had dreams of becoming a doctor. Her mom was firm: Burns had to save half her earnings for university.

But babysitting pay only goes so far. And as a single parent, Burns's mom could offer only limited help. About four years later, Burns tallied up the costs for tuition, fees, books and rent and knew she was in trouble. "It's an overwhelming amount of money," she says.

Help came from a man who also had big ambitions for higher education. Like Burns, Neil Siemens, '66 BSc, dreamed of becoming one of the first people in his extended family to attend post-secondary school.

As a foster child in the 1940s, Siemens did not have parents to help him save or plan for university. He found the drive on his own. "Growing up, I thought I had absolutely zero academic ability. But I found I could do quite well if I applied myself. And that made me realize that I did have some potential."

After a long and happy career, Siemens created two entrance scholarships to give U of A students the funding opportunities he didn't have. In 2015, Burns was awarded one of them.

"I'm so grateful. I don't even know how to put that into words. That donation has gone a long way for me," Burns says.

Siemens finds joy knowing he helps others reach their dreams: "I don't want them to feel as if they're accepting charity. I would like them to feel good about the fact that somebody made it a little bit easier for them to attend university."

The Impact of Your Donation

University is a significant investment. Financial barriers prevent some students from studying at the U of A and force others to discontinue their studies. Just over half of U of A students work part-time - a time commitment that can take them away from their studies and extracurricular opportunities needed for success.

Scholarships and bursaries are crucial to students when they start or continue their education. Financially support students and you help them realize their dreams. The impact of your gift is found on the confident smiles of grads and undergrads as they collect their degrees and diplomas.

How to Help

Financial support of any amount makes a difference. You can give any amount to an existing fund:

  • Bursaries help students based on financial need.
  • Scholarships recognize superior academic achievement and appear on a student's transcript.
  • Hybrid awards support students with academic potential who have financial need.

To create a new award, your commitment is:

  • $1,000 minimum per year for five years to create one annually funded scholarship or bursary.
  • $50,000 minimum to create an endowed scholarship or bursary, which lasts forever. Your gift can be made all at once or pledged over a maximum of five years.

Students Need Your Help Today

The university has identified three priority areas for student financial support. Your support is vital to:

  • Help students with financial need: Bursaries allow students with demonstrated financial need to focus on their studies - instead of how to pay the bills. There are more than 300 undergraduate students whose needs cannot be met with funds currently available. With your generosity, students of all backgrounds will have the opportunity to pursue their studies at the U of A.
  • Reward talented students: Scholarships encourage high-performing students to pursue their academic passions. Rather than working to pay the bills, scholarship recipients have the time to do extracurricular projects, join student clubs and attend competitions. Your investment will help ensure talented students in all faculties have access to scholarships. Donors now have the option to set up a hybrid award, which supports students who show academic potential and who also have financial need.
  • Build greater diversity by supporting Indigenous students: The U of A seeks to support Indigenous students who face challenges that affect their studies. Donor generosity can have a life-changing impact and honours the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's call to eliminate the education gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous citizens. You can help remove financial barriers for Indigenous students.

When creating a bursary, scholarship or hybrid award, additional selection criteria beyond financial need and academic achievement may be added, such as community service, leadership and extracurricular activities.

Giving Theme

Ways to Give

Memorial/Tribute Gifts, Charitable Gift Annuities