College of Law announces refugee scholarship

The College of Law has announced a new scholarship that will fully fund the tuition, student fees and textbooks of one Juris Doctor (JD) student, who has claimed or is claiming refugee status in Canada, for the duration of their three-year law degree.

Eligible students who apply to the college’s JD program through the regular process, and secure a place for Sept. 2018, will be able to apply for the scholarship. The recipient will be decided by a specially appointed committee at the College of Law.

Though the college offers a range of financial awards and support to its students, the refugee scholarship is a first.

“We saw this as a unique opportunity to make a difference to a refugee student. Though many university students know only too well the financial burden of tuition and fees, this is a chance for us to help someone who, as a refugee to this country, faces significant cultural, financial, and educational roadblocks,” said College of Law Associate Dean, Academic, Doug Surtees. “The scholarship goes some way to removing a barrier that might otherwise prevent this person from realizing their goal of attending law school.”

The college’s students have pledged a portion of the ticket sales from their student association’s most highly-attended event to the scholarship.

Law Students Association (LSA) President Lindsey Knibbs was enthusiastic when she first heard about the initiative.

“I was excited to bring the idea back to the LSA executive and general council. We unanimously agreed that this was a worthy cause, and decided to donate $5 from each ticket sold for our First Year Formal,” she said.

In so doing, a majority of the student body were able to contribute to the cause, despite busy schedules and tight budgets.

The college has also pledged funding towards the scholarship, and is asking donors and alumni to join the cause.

The college is hopeful this scholarship will highlight the need to create opportunities for less advantaged groups such as refugee students, and that it will encourage similar initiatives.

“As a college training future lawyers, we have a vital role to play in helping people, and encouraging our partners, students, and community to do the same,” said Surtees. “We also need to ensure that the opportunity to undertake a legal education remains open to as many groups as possible.”

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