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No funds, no transportation, no school

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Vancouver Island University
Inconsistent process and policy about grant funding resulted in a student being treated unfairly.

Sonia was a student who wanted to take a course at Vancouver Island University (VIU), but needed financial assistance for transportation. She applied for an Adult Upgrading Grant (AUG), but she was denied. Sonia requested a reconsideration, which resulted in her being eligible for the grant, but not in time for the start of the course. Sonia had to miss several classes, and even though she had informed her instructor, she was withdrawn from the course according to the university’s “No Show Policy”. Feeling this was unfair, Sonia came to us.

Through our investigation we learned that Sonia had indeed followed the “No Show Policy” rules in terms of notifying her instructor. However, we found several gaps in how information was being provided to students accessing the AUG in relation to guidelines and restrictions of the program.

As a result, we asked the university to develop a policy that clearly articulates when and how the university provides AUG funding. We also asked that an information package for students about the grant be developed. The university agreed to take these steps and also agreed to extend Sonia’s grant if she wished to take the course the following term.

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