'It directly has positive effects on our economy': UBC to create 110 scholarships for STEM grad students with provincial funding

UBC will create 110 scholarships for grad students using new funding from the provincial government.

On May 24, the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training announced it would allocate $3.75 million to the BC Graduate Scholarship fund. The money will be distributed to all post-secondary institutions in BC that offer graduate programs and available to students in STEM based on merit.

According to Dr. Julian Dierkes, the associate dean of funding at UBC’s Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, each award recipient — 98 at UBC Vancouver and 12 at UBC Okanagan — will get $15,000.

“The award allocation is provided to faculties, and programs and departments then assign them to students. Therefore, students do not need to apply for the award, rather, individual programs/departments assign them to help recruit and support their students,” he wrote in an emailed statement to The Ubyssey.

Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training Anne Kang, said the money will be distributed proportionally to post-secondary universities based on the student population and number of programs.

Kang described the announcement as “a very strong return on investment where students can focus on their studies rather than worry about expenses.”

“We want to make sure that one, we are able to retain our brightest and the best students here in British Columbia … But also [that we] support the intellectual knowledge and our problem solving skills here in BC, and it directly has positive effects on our economy.”

She said that recipients of this scholarship can use the money for their tuition and living expenses, and that its goal is to promote affordability and accessibility of education.

When asked about financial support for students not eligible for these new scholarships, Kang pointed to other initiatives like the BC Financial Service — which started providing $15 million to 4,000 students last month — and the BC Student Loans service.

She also said she was open to expanding this specific scholarship in the future.

“I am very passionate about making sure that we support our graduate programs and I am committed to making education more accessible and affordable.”