When BCIT students found themselves in sudden and urgent financial need due to the pandemic, our community of donors answered the call.
“Several hundreds of BCIT students reached out to us with heart-wrenching letters,” says Paul McCullough, Vice President, BCIT Advancement. “BCIT responded quickly by establishing the COVID-19 Emergency Student Response Fund to provide one-time aid to students facing financial hardship. We’re grateful for the outpouring of support from the community. It is nothing short of incredible.”
Within two weeks of establishing the emergency fund and announcing the appeal, donors—including industry partners, BCIT faculty and staff, and the wider BCIT community—had rallied to contribute a total of more than $160,000. These donations are augmented by the investment of $140,000 in emergency financial assistance that BCIT received from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training earlier this spring. More than 1,300 students have applied for financial aid. To date, the fund has helped nearly 490 students.
“After the COVID-19 outbreak, both my partner and I lost our jobs,” said Aline M., a BCIT Graphic Design student in a social media post on LinkedIn. “With rent at our feet, I began to worry if I would eventually even be able to afford food. Paying for tuition seemed like a far-fetched dream. BCIT saw my struggle and reached out to me with the emergency response fund. I applied and it turns out they recognized my struggle and chose to support me. Many happy thanks to BCIT!”
A community of philanthropy
Donations were received from not only our industry partners, but also within the BCIT community. The BCIT Alumni Association led the way with an early $10,000 donation while the BCIT Faculty and Staff Association and the BCIT Retirees’ Association responded with their generosity. Special thanks to BCIT’s faculty and staff, who—in addition to supporting students in their everyday roles—demonstrated their unwavering commitment by contributing to the fund, too.
“We are overwhelmed by the generosity of our community and their responsiveness to our students in need,” says Jackie Jacob, Executive Director, BCIT Foundation. “Their contributions will help ensure BCIT students can stay on track to become the leaders our world needs, including healthcare professionals on the front lines, innovators who retool to manufacture desperately needed personal protective equipment, and specialists who maintain essential infrastructure so our lives don’t skip a beat. For every student whose life the generosity of our donors has changed, we thank you.”
Read about how our alumni and students are supporting the fight against COVID-19:
- Mattias Henders – BCIT Computing student wins hackathon with app that supports survivors of domestic abuse during COVID-19
- Pawan Varaich – BCIT Nursing alumnus-turned-instructor offers support as frontline healthcare worker
- Kris Dickie – BCIT alumnus-developed portable ultrasound device uses home-grown technology to screen for COVID-19
- Joshua Bradshaw – Mechanical Engineering alumnus Joshua Bradshaw develops a face shield to help frontline workers during COVID-19
- Jamie Haakons and Keisha Go – BCIT alumni turns hobby into support for frontline healthcare workers
- Jason Zanatta – BCIT alumnus expected to be first in Canada to produce N95 respirators
Applications for BCIT’s COVID-19 Emergency Student Response Fund are now closed. Find more information on funding or support for students during COVID-19.