Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 71.58
Liaison James Gordon
Submission Date March 3, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Thompson Rivers University
PA-8: Affordability and Access

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.13 / 4.00 James Gordon
Environmental Programs and Research Coordinator
TRU Office of Environment and Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have policies and programs in place to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:
Yes

A brief description of any policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students:

TRU offers a comprehensive range of programs to assist students in financing their educational and living costs. Financial support can be a combination of bursaries, scholarships, awards, work-study situations, loans and grants.


A brief description of any programs to equip the institution’s faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:

The following is from Marvyn Fitzpatrick, TRU instructor for the off-campus First Steps Program for young mothers:
First Steps has been in operation approximately 26 years in cooperation with Interior Community Support, School District 73, and the Kamloops Boys and Girls Club. Education, daycare, and other relevant social programming is provided for young mothers between 17-25 years of age to help them achieve a provincial adult graduation certificate. Part of the success of First Steps is the proximity to the daycare facilities, no cost involved for parking, and the location of the classroom. From an educational standpoint, one realization from the program is that many of the students bring dependency issues as well as other ill-adapted behavioral habits that have to be worked with before the students are successful in education. This takes time and so success cannot neccesarily be measured in an 'upwards' linear progression from one level to the next.
The Adult Basic Education Student Assistance Program (ABESAP) covers basic costs of books, supplies, and transit U-Passes for schooling. Depending on income amount, if applied for, funds can be made available to subsidize day care. In the past, when finances have allowed it, students have also received monies for transportation.


A brief description of any programs to prepare students from low-income backgrounds for higher education:

Students can meet with advisors one-on-one in the Student Services Centre with someone from Financial Support regarding student awards and how to plan for their education. There is also a document online that highlights what students can do to prepare for their higher education. It can be accessed at: http://www.tru.ca/__shared/assets/Financial_Aid___Awards22090.pdf
TRU offers an array of programs to address the needs of students from low income backgrounds seeking higher education:
• University Preparation offers a comprehensive array of English, mathematics, sciences and study skills courses designed to prepare students with absent or insufficient high school achievement criteria for further study at the university level.
• First Steps provides university preparation and/or high school completion courses to young mothers in a coordinated program that includes childcare, and family support.
• Employment Skills Training provides academic skills improvement and employment training for adults with developmental disabilities.
• Adult Basic Education courses include the Career Orientation and Personal Empowerment (COPE) course for women; which is designed to establish career goals and personal skills that will help them succeed in the working world. It also includes the Men’s Education and Career Alternatives (MECA) course for men; with the same set of goals as COPE, but for men. Information is available from: http://www.tru.ca/hse/uprep/copemeca.html
TRU also partners with Twin Rivers Education Center to help students transition into post secondary education. One program they offer is their Trades and Transition (TNT) program which allows students to gain valuable skills before entering into a trades program on campus.


A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:

TRU’s Financial Aid office administers more than 500 scholarships, bursaries, awards, and prizes for students who show financial need. An example includes: The TRU Foundation offers the BC Provincial Gaming Fund Open Bursary, which awards funds to full time BC students who demonstrate financial need.
A list of TRU scholarships, awards, bursaries, and prizes can be found at: http://www.tru.ca/finaid/awards.html


A brief description of any programs to guide parents of low-income students through the higher education experience:

TRU understands that preparing for university can be an exciting and stressful time for students and parents alike. Early financial planning is an essential part of creating a foundation for student success, So TRU Financial Aid created an online page for parents to help their child with finances. Parents can schedule an appointment with a Finance Advisor if they require any assistance regarding the process.
Other programs to guide parents through the higher education experience include: Parent Information Sessions, which are hosted during Fall and Spring Open Houses; and the TRU Student Engagement office holds Parent Orientations before the start of school in August. More information can be found at: http://www.tru.ca/newstudents/parents/family-orientation.html


A brief description of any targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:

TRU’s Aboriginal Services Team provides support with everything from day to day life, to funding applications, and support accessing daycare and housing programs. They also act as liaisons to faculty and other networks on campus, and work to recruit, retain, and help aboriginal students be successful at TRU. One successful program aimed at reaching out to recruit students is the Transition to Post Secondary Program (which is aimed at Aboriginal students in Grades 10-12), where students get a first-hand experience of life at TRU (Described in PA-7).
TRU Open Learning is also engaging students from low-income backgrounds to reach their post secondary goals through on-line distance education. TRU's Open Learning Program offers more than 55 programs and 590 courses that are fully accredited, and offers students a flexible schedule to meet their lifestyle.


A brief description of other admissions policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

Adult Basic Education Student Assistance Program (ABESAP) provides financial assistance, in the form of needs-based grants to British Columbian students who wish to access pre-university courses. These courses include English as a Second or Additional Language (ESAL), basic literacy, academic upgrading, adult special education, and pre-vocational courses. University Preparation courses, and Adult Basic Education courses, are also free with respect to tuition. Information is availabile from: http://www.tru.ca/finaid/assistance/abesap.html


A brief description of other financial aid policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

The First Steps program is designed for young mothers, and provides academic upgrading, personal development, career education and effective parenting courses. The program also provides a daycare facility and is partnered with the Kamloops Boys and Girls Club, the local school district (#73), and the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development. Further information is available here: http://www.tru.ca/hse/programs/prep/firststeps.html


A brief description of other policies and programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students not covered above:

Further support for full time students (who have federal or provincial student loans) includes the WorkStudy program, which allow students some work experience, and a chance to earn extra funds on campus (it pays $10.25 an hour for up to 8 hours a week). Further information is available here: http://www.tru.ca/finaid/workstudyprogram.html


Does the institution have policies and programs in place to support non-traditional students?:
Yes

A brief description of any scholarships provided specifically for part-time students:

There are bursaries and grants available to applicants who demonstrate financial need and are students studying between 20% to 59% of a full-time course load. Applicants must be in good standing with any previous Canada or BC student loans. They apply through TRU Financial Aid during the appropriate times when the scholarships are available.


A brief description of any onsite child care facilities, partnerships with local facilities, and/or subsidies or financial support to help meet the child care needs of students:

TRU has a facility for child care on campus. It is run by a third party and gives priority to on campus students before accepting off campus families, staff and faculty. It partners with the University to provide learning experiences for those wishing to pursue a career in child development and early childhood education.


A brief description of other policies and programs to support non-traditional students:

Non-traditional students have the opportunity to earn educational credits online through TRU Open Learning. It offers over 55 programs and 590 courses in a variety of flexible formats, including print-based, web-based, online and in-person. Courses and programs delivered by TRU-OL are fully accredited and recognized by other post-secondary institutions, so students can take even a single course (and transfer the credits to another institution) or complete an entire program. Further information is available from: http://www.tru.ca/distance/about/distance.html


Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (accessibility and affordability indicators)?:
Yes

Indicators that the institution is accessible and affordable to low-income students::
Percentage (0-100)
The percentage of entering students that are low-income 21.40
The graduation/success rate for low-income students ---
The percentage of student financial need met, on average 91.70
The percentage of students graduating with no interest-bearing student loan debt ---

The percentage of students that participate in or directly benefit from the institution’s policies and programs to support low-income and non-traditional students:
29.70

The website URL where information about the institution's affordability and access programs is available:

The percentage of entering students that are low-income--21.4%--was arrived at by dividing the number of full-time Kamloops campus students with full-time loans (2110) by the number of all Kamloops campus full-time students (9835). It is assumed that there is no difference in the percent of low income students who are entering TRU compared to students who are already enrolled.
The percentage of student financial need met, on average--91.7%--was arrived at by dividing the need that was unmet ($2.2 million) by the need that was met ($26.7 million).
The percentage of students that participated in or directly benefited from the institution’s policies and programs to support low-income and non-traditional students--29.7%--was arrived at by dividing the number of students that were assisted with either a student loan, government grant, or bursary (2,925) by the total of all Kamloops campus full-time students (9835).
Sources: Gordon Down (TRU Student Awards & Financial Support), and Matt Kennedy (TRU Institutional Planning and Analysis)

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