Times are tough, but students facing financial hardship, made worse by spiralling costs of living, are discovering the difference that University of the Sunshine Coast scholarships and bursaries can make.
This year alone, more than 1,500 University of the Sunshine Coast students, all with different stories and journeys, have been supported with more than $4.3 million in scholarships, bursaries and prizes.
UniSC Vice Chancellor and President Professor Helen Bartlett, said that in times of high need, it was fitting that more than 90 percent have some form of equity hardship element as part of the selection criteria.
“The reality is that financial hardship can be the reason why students put off applying for university or decide not to continue with their degrees. We want to give students every opportunity to reach their full potential,” Professor Bartlett said.
Today, UniSC shone a light on the joy of giving at a ‘Celebrating Philanthropy’ event that brought together donors who are helping to change the lives of students, and those whose lives they are changing.
It was an opportunity for scholarship and bursary recipients, such as elite athlete Yolandie Weir (pictured) to share their inspiring stories.
Seven years ago, while ranked number two in the world for powerlifting, Yolandie became gravely ill, fell into a coma and was given little chance of survival.
“Life has certainly thrown me all the curve balls, trials, and tribulations. Leaving the hospital a few months later, with a suitcase full of medications and having had to learn to walk again, I knew it was time to create a life that’s worth the fight,” she said.
She found the courage and determination to go on to become a Commonwealth, Oceania and Australian weightlifting champion and is studying a Bachelor of Psychology at UniSC as part of its High Performance Student Athlete (HPSA) program.
“Being a single mum, elite athlete, and student is a recipe for a financially tight situation,” said Yolandie, who receives support through the HPSA program and is a recipient of a bursary to help with study costs.
A Celebration of Philanthropy
Professor Bartlett said the event explored the way philanthropy had transformed students’ lives for the better since UniSC’s foundation in 1996 and shaped what it had been able to do for its communities.
“It is an opportunity to reflect on the incredible generosity of hundreds of donors who support our students, the delivery of art and culture, research with local and global impact, important infrastructure and vital initiatives such as the Thompson Institute.”
A panel involving Professor Bartlett and UniSC’s two previous Vice Chancellors discussed where philanthropy can take the University and its communities in the future.
“Who will help us create lasting change and a positive impact in other important areas, such as driving our sustainable development work further, and finding ways to make a difference in healthy ageing,” Professor Bartlett said.
Applications for UniSC scholarships for 2023 are now open. Go to www.usc.edu.au/scholarships
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