$1M anonymous donation to bolster student financial aid at NAIT

Bursaries to help students “enjoy the full NAIT experience”

A new $1-million donation will enhance financial aid for NAIT students in applied sciences and technology.

According to Robyn Khunkun, associate vice-president of advancement and alumni relations, the anonymous gift will create the “Libra Endowment Fund,” which supports $5,000 bursaries given annually to eight students in the Bachelor of Applied Information Systems Technology, Digital Media and IT, Computer Engineering Technology and Computer Network Administrator programs.

“This is an extremely generous donation that will impact generations of NAIT students.”

“This is an extremely generous donation that will impact generations of NAIT students,” says Khunkun. “It’s life-changing. $5,000 will cover a good portion of their annual student expenses.”

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According to NAIT Students’ Association president Jerilyn Kotelniski, the donation will allow her peers to “enjoy the full NAIT experience.”

“Instead of working full-time or part-time on or off-campus, now they can contribute more meaningfully while they’re studying at NAIT,” says Kotelniski, a fifth-year Bachelor of Business Administration student. That could mean taking on volunteer roles, extracurricular activities, joining clubs or focusing on skills necessary for success in the workforce.

The bursary also comes at a time when many students’ jobs and incomes have been disrupted by the pandemic amid rising costs. Kotelniski says students are “very grateful” for such a generous donation – especially now.

“Having scholarships and bursaries that are available to students so they can continue their studies is amazing,” she says.

Anonymous gift

The Libra Endowment Fund was created through a gift from a donor who requested anonymity, says Khunkun. Unlike most donations, which are pledged over time, this gift was made through a lump-sum payment, meaning NAIT can benefit from interest accruals right away.

“That’s incredible, especially considering the climate we’re in,” she says. “We are really appreciative of this generous gift.”

“We are really appreciative of this generous gift.”

The Libra bursary is open to first- and second-year students based on financial need. Three bursaries worth $4,400 each will be available starting in fall 2021-22, ramping up to eight awards worth $5,000 in 2022-23.

Every year, NAIT supports more than 4,000 students with over $6 million in scholarships and bursaries supported by a number of funders and donors.

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