April 20, 2022

UCalgary increases support for students affected by crisis in their home countries

Your gift will help students impacted by international conflict
University of Calgary campus
Ewan Nicholson

International students from nations experiencing conflict face tremendous uncertainties, questions and fears. The past weeks have been an extremely challenging time for those University of Calgary students personally impacted by the crisis in Ukraine. Many fear for family and friends, and they face questions about returning home and how to access money, resources, or support from their home government if they need it.

UCalgary has recently increased its efforts to help ease the burden on international students who find their home country unexpectedly in conflict.

International Student Conflict Support Fund

One new initiative is the International Student Conflict Support Fund. The fund will help full-time undergraduate and graduate international students who face an unexpected financial burden due to conflict in their home country. Emergency funding may be used to cover tuition, travel and living expenses, as well as related, unforeseen fees or costs. The number of awards offered is dependent on available funding. Awards can vary from $50 to $5,000.

“In the face of war, it’s easy to feel powerless to affect change,” says Dr. Susan Barker, vice-provost (student experience).

Anyone can contribute to this fund, which is an opportunity to directly touch the life of a student who has been impacted.

"I know there are many in the UCalgary community who are desperate to do something no matter how small. Even in the context of such large-scale tragedy, we can make a meaningful difference for our students."

International Graduate Student Crisis Support Scholarship

Another new initiative is the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ International Graduate Student Crisis Support Scholarship, which supports incoming master's and doctoral students who have been forced to leave their home countries to escape war, violations of human rights, conflict or persecution.

“The international academic community is a vital part of the graduate education community at UCalgary,” says Dr. Robin Yates, dean and vice-provost, graduate studies. “We are committed to removing barriers for students facing volatile situations in their home countries. FGS has dedicated $120k to this fund and are now using it to enable programs to bring students to UCalgary.”

These new initiatives add to ongoing efforts to support students impacted by conflict in their home countries. Each year, the Office of the Registrar works with students from conflict areas to help them attend UCalgary despite the challenges they face. Support could include allowing more flexibility in the application process or providing special needs-based funding.

“Every situation is unique,” says Dr. Amy Dambrowitz, university registrar, “so our team works hard to understand each student’s needs and provide the specific support required.”  

Students' Greatest Needs Fund

Another ongoing source of support for students impacted by conflict — as well as other students who find themselves in crisis — is the Students’ Greatest Needs Fund. It helps students who find themselves in crisis situations where they cannot afford necessities that many take for granted, like healthy food or a safe place to live.

“We want students to know that there are people in place to listen, provide support and resources, and help those who need it to get back on their feet again,” says Debbie Bruckner, senior director, student wellness - access and support. “No one needs to sacrifice their basic needs in times of crisis when our community is here to help.”

UCalgary’s annual Giving Day event is a chance to help students through these new and ongoing initiatives. As well as funds that provide financial assistance, you can choose from a variety of opportunities to help students — such as programs that support mental health or student leadership and engagement. Visit the Giving Day website to learn how you can make a difference in students’ lives.