University of Western Ontario: Western launches new scholarships for Black and Indigenous students

Western is offering more than 75 new entrance and continuing scholarships to support Black and Indigenous students. Available starting in September, the scholarships are part of Western’s commitment to promote equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in scholarship, research, teaching and campus culture.

Western will also increase the number of bursaries that can be accessed by Indigenous and Black students in financial need.

“We believe this will be a door-opener for many students,” said Opiyo Oloya, Western’s associate vice-president of EDI. “It is an important initiative – one among many – to make Western a preferred destination for students of marginalized and equity-deserving backgrounds.”

Christy R. Bressette, vice-provost and associate vice-president (Indigenous Initiatives), also welcomed the announcement.

“Financial barriers to higher education are significant obstacles to economic advancement for Indigenous people. By addressing these barriers through targeted scholarships, Western is supporting increased levels of access for Indigenous individuals and communities that will help to amplify Indigenous voices and perspectives,” Bressette said.

The scholarships include new $50,000 President’s Entrance scholarships, five each for Black and Indigenous students, which have already been offered to students for the 2022-23 academic year.

Students can apply for the other scholarships through an online self-identification form accessible through the Choose Western portal or directly through the registrar’s website. Students are welcome to contact the registrar’s office if they have any questions or require more information.

The annual awards will be offered to high-achieving students prior to their deadline to accept an offer from Western. However, because this year’s process is new, the university may also reach out directly to Black and Indigenous student applicants because most admission offers have already been made by this time.

“We want Black and Indigenous students to know, as soon as they consider beginning their studies at Western, the support will be there. We want the process to be easy and straightforward,” Oloya said.

The initiatives are an important response to Western’s strategic plan to create a more diverse, inclusive, equitable campus, and further the university’s commitment to implement its Indigenous Strategic Plan and the report of the Anti-Racism Working Group.

Last summer, the university announced an investment of $6 million this year alone to support new EDI initiatives, including $4 million to support the recruitment of Black and Indigenous faculty members.

“The goal is to make this a welcoming and inclusive place for all diverse voices and peoples throughout campus – a place to lift scholarship, research, teaching, learning, culture and respect through all our interactions with each other,” Oloya said.

While the scholarships are intended to begin with students entering Western this September, an expanded bursary program will also address the needs of current students who are Black or nd Indigenous and in financial need, he said.

“Based on the feedback we’ve received so far, we know there’s work to be done to make bursaries more accessible.”

In summary, these new scholarships are:

President’s Entrance Scholarship for Black Students

For first-year students with outstanding academic performance, passion for learning and community service
Five to be awarded each year ($20,000 per awardee for the first year and $10,000 in successive undergraduate years for a total value of $50,000 per student)
Western Continuing Admission Scholarship of Excellence for Black Students

For high-achieving first-year students
30 to be awarded at $6,000, continuing for up to four years, plus $2,000 for optional study-abroad experience
Western Continuing Admission Scholarship of Distinction for Black Students

For accomplished first-year students
10 to be awarded at $2,500 continuing for up to four years, plus $2,000 for optional study-abroad experience
Western University Bursary for Black Students

For full- and part-time domestic students in any year of an undergraduate program on Western’s main campus who are in financial need and self-identify as Black
An online financial assistance application is available through Student Center, and the Office of the Registrar will select the recipients
Number and value will vary
National Indigenous Scholarship Program

For students with outstanding and promising academic achievements, innovative thinking and contributions to community
Total number of five scholarships, an increase from previous three. Four to be awarded to first-year students each year ($20,000 per awardee for the first year and $10,000 in successive undergraduate years for a total value of $50,000 per student); one to be awarded to an Indigenous student applying from a post-secondary institution ($20,000 per awardee for the first year and $10,000 in successive undergraduate years for a total value of $50,000 per student)
Offers for 2022-23 are expected to go out by the end of May
Western Continuing Admission Scholarship of Excellence for Indigenous Students

For high-achieving, first-year Indigenous students
30 to be awarded at $6,000, continuing for up to four years, plus $2,000 for optional study-abroad experience.

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