We Love Our Students Month starts at Seneca; bringing in financial aid for thousands of students.

By Enzo Giroldo

SSF sign inside of the Seneca@York campus.

It’s February again, and this month brings in a special campaign from Seneca’s faculty to support its students. 

We Love Our Students Month is a series of fundraising events conducted by Seneca’s stewardship and fundraising department every February. It brings in donations from the school’s “Payroll Champions” as well as matched gifts by the SSF as part of the school’s Campaign For Students. 

Student moves inside of the cafeteria at the Seneca @ York campus. Photo by Enzo Giroldo

This is an excellent opportunity to give back to an institution… in such a way that students will benefit.” Professor Jim Craig, Seneca College. 

Prof. Jim Craig is the Radio program coordinator for Seneca, and also, permanent Professor of Broadcast Studies at Seneca’s School of Media. He’s been a donor for years, and told S@Y news it is “the best method of individually reaching out (to students)”

How do the donations get to students?

S@Y News interviewed Shannon Gaskell, development officer with Seneca’s annual fund and stewardship to learn about the campaign and how the money reaches Seneca students in need.  

As explained by Gaskell, the money earned through this campaign ends up in “the list of available scholarships, and bursaries” that students have access to through Student Home before the Fall semester begins. 

The event lasts for the entire month of February, and it is focused on getting donations from all Seneca employees. According to Gaskell, there are many ways in which donors can contribute. 

There are gifts, given in the form of learning material, such as educational mannequins for students in nursing programs; or employees can donate towards specific funds or awards, as well as create new ones. 

One of the ways the school pushes for donations during the campaign is through an SSF initiative. For 2022, Seneca’s Students Federation is matching all gift donations for up to $50,000. So every time that an employee makes a gift donation of up to $50,000 the Student’s Federation makes a donation of the same value. 

Who is eligible to receive this support? 

Since the money collected by the campaign goes to funds and scholarships, students have to check their eligibility via Student Home prior to applying for awards. All financial aid applications at Seneca are expected to be in by the start of the Fall semesters. 

Some scholarships and awards are restricted to domestic students only, or to specific faculties from Seneca. 

According to a 2020-21 report by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, international students in Ontario accounted for 68% of the revenue for the province’s colleges. However, although paying more in tuition, international students receive less financial aid since most government funds go towards domestic students only.  

An SSF sign stands by the exit at Seneca’s York campus. Photo by Enzo Giroldo

S@Y News asked Gaskell if international students at Seneca could count on the same support from the school, and she said that at least with bursaries specific to the Campaign For Students they “Make sure that there’s an equal number of applicants, both international and domestic students… And give preference to students who show the most need”. 

Students who want to apply for financial aid with Seneca have to show proof of their financial needs. Once applying for funds, your yearly expenses and income are required by the school so that the students struggling the most are able to be prioritized. 

Gaskell also mentioned that there are other programs Seneca offers for students in need that don’t get as much attention as the standard awards and scholarships. The SSF provides food hampers for students registered in its food bank and also offers the Student Development Grant for out-of-the-classroom learning opportunities. 

Students who want to see a full list of available scholarships and funds at Seneca can visit this link at senecacollege.ca

For more information on services provided to students by the SSF, visit ssfinc.ca

For info on We Love Our Students Month, or Seneca’s Campaign For Students, visit these links at senecacollege.ca/support or senecacollege.ca

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