Canada to reinstate funding for overseas scholars

March 23, 2007

Canada's Government has decided to again support international scholarships after half a year when the programmes were in financial limbo.

Last summer, the Government suspended C$13.5 million (£5.9 million) of annual support for those hoping to study in Canada. Several grant schemes, including the Commonwealth scholarships and the Fulbrights, suffered extreme hardship as a result.

The news that all the money had been reinstated until 2011 was bittersweet for Jim Fox, president of the Canadian Bureau for International Education, whose Commonwealth scholarships were managed with C$5.5 million of annual government funding. That programme lost an entire year's cycle due to missed deadlines. The incoming students whom it supports will now apply for the 2008-09 academic year.

Mr Fox said he had been hearing all along that the suspension of the funds would be lifted but said his programmes, which also include the Canada China Scholars Exchange Programme and the Government of Canada Awards, an arrangement with 11 different countries, fell victim to an election promise from the now year-old Conservative Government to review all grants.

That review meant enduring a wait while the Treasury Board studied the scholarship programmes' merits. "It was like running through a labyrinth.

Once you turned the final corner, you were confident that you'd be getting out. But we lost an entire year," Mr Fox said.

The scholarship programmes might still see some major shifts. The Canadian Government asked for a consultation to be set up with all stakeholders.

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