Wednesday, 27 January 2016 15:59

Medicine Hat College prepared to help students financially

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The poor economy and job losses, which Canadian Press reported as being the worst since 1982, is equating into people looking for new careers or students wondering which ones to get into.


Getting an education or retraining costs money and for some, the thought of trying to find funding for post-secondary education may deter them.
However, Brier Albano, associate registrar, enrolment at Medicine Hat College, says they haven’t seen any noticeable drop off from this semester.
“In programs students requiring aid our faculty sees things later than others, but no, we haven’t seen anything changed,” Albano explains.
Courses in the trades are popular, but she says the college is monitoring the trade apprenticeship opportunities to see if the economic downturn will effect those businesses who they use as locations for apprentices to work. It’s too early to tell at this point in the winter, but they will be watching for next school year’s registration in and around April.
While no one wants to lose a job, with falling oil prices and southern Alberta currently having a tough time, Albano finds the people she deals with are more prepared to deal with the situation.
“People are evaluating where they are in life and some see additional education as a good option,” Albano explains. “(The poor economy and shrinking job market) you’d be hardpressed to not have seen it coming.”
The last major economic downturn for Alberta was in the early eighties. Albano says this may be some of the problem holding back some of the Generation X who are hesitant to either know about the financial resources out there because they themselves had a difficult road to travel financially with student loans. This may be transcending in giving their younger family members misinformed advice or keeping themselves back from pushing forward with new education or training.
Albano notes the college has a skilled staff within the financial aid department who are experts on loans or scholarships and bursaries.
With scholarships and bursaries, a simple application is filled out and is automatically entered into all available award programs. The college also has access to emergency funding for students who find themselves in unexpected dire need of financial help.
“(Access to) financial aid is much better than it used to be,” she explains. “For example, the conditions to accessing student loans and grants have changed ... school is available and accessible for anyone who wants it.
“We want you to come to school. If we just want to make money our motivation would be different. We are in an industry to help people.”

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor