Thursday, 11 August 2011

Isn't there a grant for that?

(Two quick corrections to yesterday's post - first, with education discount the lower end Mac Mini would be $919, not $949, and my weekly income of $240 is before tax. My actual take home pay is a fortnightly sum of $310.60.)

A common refrain in regards to high costs and low government subsidies is that private charity will pick up the slack. In regards to education, this takes the form of scholarships. There are a lot of scholarships, so many that the Funding Information Service has a website database of them - more than 2,200 - which you can search. If you have a subscription. How much is that subscription? Well, from the website...

"BreakOut Easy-Pay prices for individuals:
Start-up fee: $28.75 this includes half an hour access
Subsequent hours: $51.75 per hour"

What? $52 an hour just to find out if there are people who might help you get an education you couldn't otherwise afford? Needless to say, I do not have this much money, and given that I live in Christchurch, the nearest public library that might have free access is a while away - my local library has been demolished. Nor can I use a secondary school's access, as I'm, you know, not a secondary school student.

Given that Massey is my only really viable choice for university (Canterbury doesn't offer Social Policy and Massey has by far the best extramural program), I instead looked at the scholarships section on their website. There are 128 scholarships available for first year students, and after my first look through them I decided to roughly categorise them, for fun. Some scholarships - probably most of them, actually - apply to more than one category, and just because you meet the criteria of one category (say, being a Food Tech student) doesn't mean you qualify for all the scholarships in that category. This is especially true for the Maori students scholarships, as most of them are for particular tribes, and I'd wager there are few people who can demonstrate a legitimate claim to all of those tribes. Most Maori students would probably qualify for two or three of those scholarships at the most.

A couple of extra notes - "agriculture" I've used for anything specifying farming, or agriscience, agricommerce... basically, anything that starts with agri- I put into agriculture. Similarly horticulture includes scholarships for those looking to work in the citrus industry, growing kiwifruit, etc, and animal science covers veterinary students. In the ethnic minorities group, the scholarship for Korean people also applies to students who had a parent serve in the Korean War, and in "family of..." there's one for orphans, but most of them were for those who work for, or whose parents work for, a particular company. The gender category is not a euphemism for women - there were a couple of scholarships that were only for men, as well. I put the music grants into art. School specific refers to former students of a particular primary or secondary school, not the university they wish to go to.

So, in descending order:

Location specific: 37
Agriculture: 29
Horticulture: 22
Maori students: 12
Family of...: 10
Disability: 8 (4 deaf, 2 blind)
Animal science: 7
School specific: 7
Sports: 7
Engineering: 6
Health: 6
Gender: 6
Ethnic minorities (non-Maori): 5
First time students: 5
Science: 5
Food tech: 4
Hardship: 4
Business: 4
Environment/resource management: 4
Art: 4
Meat industry: 2
Math: 2
Military: 2
Trades, Religion (Christian), Language (Japanese), Forestry, English: 1 each

If you're wondering, I qualify for exactly none. While I'm semi-disabled, my financial hardship isn't directly related to that disability, and there are people who would need it far more than I do. I'm not okay, personally, at my education blatantly coming at someone else's expense. The same goes for one scholarship that would otherwise be pretty good - people studying an array of subjects that would ultimately lead to working in the field of Maori mental health, which may or may not be restricted to those of Maori descent. It might be one thing if I was for sure dedicated to that field, but honestly, I'm not. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do, just that it will ideally be something helping disadvantaged people at a community level.

On the plus side, work is ramping up again for the next couple of months, so I'm setting a budget. I'll pay my rent, necessities for my rabbits, my WoW subscription (don't judge me) and allow, weekly, $20 for transport and $20 to spend on whatever. The rest should go first to my credit card (I just dumped another $250 on there now since it's payday, that puts the debt down to $610) and then to savings. We'll see where that gets me.

1 comment:

  1. Just from what I've gathered from listening to Scholarships people at UC, I'd be tempted to apply for those scholarships anyway, because a) often scholarships like that don't get any applicants so it goes to waste, and b) if there is a more deserving applicant then the committee judging the scholarship will make that decision. The UC Scholarships folk also sound keen for students to contact them for advice on if there are any other scholarships available that haven't been advertised there (yet); I can't see what equivalent office Massey might have