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Scholarships help ease financial burden that comes with getting an education.

For students contemplating getting a post-secondary education, the rising cost of getting that education is an important factor that needs to be considered. But, thanks to the large number of scholarships and bursaries that are available to students heading off to college, university or technical institutes, the financial burden that comes hand in hand with earning a degree, diploma or certificate can be lessened substantially.

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There are many sources you can turn to in order to find out what types of scholarships you may be eligible to apply for.

Arvelle Beutler is a student financial assistance officer at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), which has more Aboriginal students within it's student body than any other university in Canada, is home to the Native Law Centre of Canada and boasts the only MBA program in the country with elective courses in the area of Indigenous management.

According to Beutler, the best place to start your search is with the post-secondary institution you plan to attend. Students attending the U of S, for example, can find out about scholarships, bursaries and awards available through the university online at www.students.usask.ca/moneymatters/awards. There they can search the awards by key word or category and find application forms for the awards they are interested in applying for.

"There are many other awards available through community agencies, businesses and other organizations," she added. "Contact businesses, professional associations, unions, clubs and other organizations, especially groups to which you or your parents belong. Check with associations related to the field of study you intend to pursue."

One organization that can definitely be of assistance when it comes time to search for scholarships is the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, which has helped more than 1,000 Aboriginal students access financial assistance through it's Foundation for the Advancement of Aboriginal Youth (FAAY). The program provides students with a sort of one-stop-shopping option-they complete just one application form in order to be considered for all the scholarships and bursaries managed by FAAY on behalf of the many companies involved in the program. More information about FAAY can be found online at www.ccab.com.

Another organization that offers scholarships to Aboriginal students is the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, which provides financial assistance to students enrolled in fine arts, health careers, business, science, engineering, law, computer studies, technical studies, social sciences, social work and education. More about the foundation's scholarship and bursary program can be found online at www.naaf.ca.

You can also identify organizations that may have scholarship programs at the public library by searching publication such as the Canadian Directory to Foundations and Grants, or by contacting your local branch of Human Resources and Social Development Canada, Beutler said. The Internet can also be a valuable source of information about what types of scholarships and bursaries are available.

One place to start in your online search is on the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Web site, home to the Aboriginal Bursary System, a searchable listing of bursaries available to Aboriginal people. The Aboriginal Bursary System can be found at http://esd.inac.gc.ca/abs.

The Web site of the Aboriginal Multi Media Society, publisher of Windspeaker, is also worth checking out. Just go to www.ammsa.com/ammsabursaary.html and you'll find an up-to-date listing of more than 380 scholarships.

Once you've found the scholarships you want to apply for, the next step is completing the application. According to Beutler, there are some simple steps a person can take to improve the chances that their scholarship application will be successful.

"Students should answer all questions completely and submit all necessary supporting documents. Remember, your application must convince the selection committee to choose you over another candidate. It's important for the selection committee to understand the extent and impact of your involvement in extracurricular activities, volunteer work and with other organizations. For example, were you a member? The president? How did you make a difference? How would the world or organization be the same or different if you were not involved in the organization?" she said.

"When submitting an awards application, keep in mind it is a representation of you, much like your resume. Therefore it should contain no spelling errors and formatting and visual presentation should be esthetically pleasing. You want your application to stand out and make a good impression."

For students already enrolled in a post-secondary institution, there is very often help to be had when it comes to filling out scholarship applications, Beutler said. Students at the U of S, for instance, can consult with student central officers for help, and staff from the Aboriginal Students' Centre can help Aboriginal students complete their scholarship and bursary applications.

"In addition, some colleges have staff devoted to helping Aboriginal students enrolled in their college. For example, Charlotte Ross, coordinator of academic programs for Aboriginal students in the College of Arts & Science will help Aboriginal arts and science students with awards questions," she said.

For students still in high school who are preparing to start their post-secondary education, Beutler advises them to talk to their high school counsellors to get advice and assistance with completing their scholarship application forms.
COPYRIGHT 2007 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:2007 Aboriginal Scholarship Guide
Publication:Windspeaker
Date:May 1, 2007
Words:870
Previous Article:A look at life on the edge--of Canada.
Next Article:Aboriginal scholarship & bursary guide.
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