The need for transparency and financial initiatives from the school.
We all know the mounting costs of attending university. Every year tuition goes up; rent gets higher and there seems to be more and more student fees popping up everywhere.
Although mounting costs are stress-inducing for students, many of us are fortunate enough to be able to continue our education anyways, be it because of student loans or parental support. However, there are many students who have tremendous difficulty paying their way through university and there are even more who cannot hope to receive a postsecondary education at all.
The StFX administration introduced the Xaverian Scholarship and Bursary Fund in September of 2014 with an objective to raise fifty million dollars for student scholarships and bursaries to give to students who would not otherwise be able to attend StFX because of financial need. The administration stated that their goal is to “never turn away students because of financial need” and wishes to aid students with their finances so they too, can receive a high-quality education at our university.
The implementation of this fund is important, as StFX as an institution does not have great scholarship options for the average student entering first year. My 84 average was one percentage off the cut off for an entrance scholarship and I thus received no support upon entering my first year. However, I am also an individual who receives a lot of support from my parents and growing up, the money I made went towards my schooling as I seldom had to pay for much else. This privilege has allowed me, like many others, to come to university without much thought of how I will continue to afford this education that is so sought-after by many.
The Xaverian is supported through pledges and donations from corporate gifts, alumni donations, donations by foundations and now the net proceeds of the X-ring sales from the X-ring store. The X-ring store proceeds specifically will go towards the Student Refugee Bursary that was implemented earlier this year by the Class of 2018. The university’s goal is to raise 2 million dollars a year towards the Xaverian Fund and continue it long into the future. By purchasing X-rings at the X-ring store; through this, students are giving other potential students the opportunity to come to StFX and share in the experience.
However, X-rings themselves are an expense that many cannot afford. With long-standing traditions surrounding the ring and everyone’s love for December 3rd, being unable to afford an X-ring can ostracize some students from having what is deemed to be the “full StFX experience.” While creating an initiative that allows community members to support one another, and that pushes collective dollars into empty pockets is a valiant pursuit, I believe students need more knowledge of how they can benefit from these pursuits. Is there currently a bursary in place to help students with their X-ring costs? Are the Xaverian Fund bursaries available to students currently studying? How do we take advantage of this money?
I sought out to write this article about an update on the Xaverian Fund. Although I have learned what the fund is for and when it is implemented, I have not been able to find much information about how students having been benefiting in a tangible way. I think it is important to recognize that while we all have similar experiences as StFX students, we do not all have the same financial backgrounds. It is important for students to have comprehensive and readily available information about initiatives that they can potentially be benefiting from.
I think it is very important that the school has identified financial need as problem and is working to address it through this bursary. However, the next step should be to make these resources transparent to students who may be looking for financial aid as they continue their education.