Ryerson University fighting impact of recession on students

    TORONTO, Aug. 20 /CNW/ - Ryerson University is taking extraordinary steps
to help students who are hurting from the economic downturn.
    Recognizing that higher unemployment will affect the ability of many
students to pay for their education, the University is hiring more students as
teaching assistants and research assistants and in other part-time positions;
and guaranteeing all student bursaries, scholarships and awards from endowed
funds despite investment losses.
    "Students have enough on their plates without having to worry about how
the recession will affect their finances," says President Sheldon Levy. "We
know that these are difficult times, and we are making choices that support
our students. We have already taken significant steps to increase student
financial assistance."
    Last year Ryerson provided more than $20.4 million in financial
assistance to students in the form of bursaries, scholarships, and part-time
jobs under a number of programs. That support will increase this year. So far
the University has:

    -  committed $1.8 million in additional funding to hire more students as
       teaching assistants,

    -  increased funding from $2.4 million to $2.7 million for the work study
       program so more students can be hired as research assistants and in
       part-time jobs,

    -  allocated $2 million, including $800,000 for student bursaries, to
       guarantee all endowed bursaries, scholarships, awards, and academic
       chairs for 2009-10, despite investment losses,

    -  for the first time, students will have the option of paying only half
       their tuition at the beginning of the year, and deferring the second
       half until January.

    "No qualified student should be denied access to a Ryerson education
because of economic need," Levy said.
    In light of summer unemployment figures and increased OSAP applications,
President Levy is especially delighted to announce a major gift to Ryerson to
support students in need.
    In a remarkable demonstration of support for students suffering from the
slow economy, the Birchall Family Foundation has donated $1 million to create
the William and Catharina Birchall Bursaries, 75 bursaries of up to $5,000
each for first-year students starting in September. To ensure that the maximum
number of students receive financial help quickly, the Birchalls have made
their gift entirely expendable, rather than creating an endowment. It is one
of the largest expendable gifts in Ryerson's history exclusively for student
    The University is grateful to the Birchall Family Foundation for this
timely and welcome gift.

    Ryerson University is Canada's leader in innovative career-focused
education, offering close to 100 PhD, master's, and undergraduate programs in
the Faculty of Arts; the Faculty of Communication & Design; the Faculty of
Community Services; the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Science; and
the Ted Rogers School of Management. Ryerson University has graduate and
undergraduate enrolment of 25,000 students. With more than 68,000
registrations annually, The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is
Canada's leading provider of university-based adult education.

For further information:

For further information: Suelan Toye, Ryerson University, Public Affairs
Office: (416) 979-5000 x 7161, stoye@ryerson.ca

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