U of M earmarks $1M in bursaries for people impacted by Ukrainian war, other life events

Manitoba’s largest university has pledged up to $1 million for its emergency bursary fund to support students in financial distress as a result of especially challenging life events, including the war in Ukraine.

The University of Manitoba says students can access funds to help them pay the full cost of their tuition, housing and other living expenses as required if they lose access to their funds as a result of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, other international conflicts, environmental catastrophes and other extraordinary life events.

“Manitoba is home to one of the largest populations of Ukraine diaspora in Canada and we take our obligation to address this crisis seriously,” said Michael Benarroch in a message to staff and students on the U of M website on Wednesday.

“We recognize that war and geopolitical events can impact our international students, and that domestic students can similarly experience emergencies that impact their finances and create unexpected need.”

The university is prioritizing the bursaries toward those in immediate need.

Nick Krawetz has advocated for Manitoba universities to cover tuition costs for Ukrainians fleeing war and is pleased with this step. (Radio-Canada)

This is welcome news for Nick Krawetz, a third-generation Ukrainian-Canadian from Winnipeg, who had previously called on Manitoba universities to cover tuition costs for Ukrainian students impacted by the war.

“Given that they’re cut off from their families, they’re cut off from their finances, which certainly jeopardizes their studies. And and for those that were planning to continue on their studies … that was a huge question mark for them, given the circumstances,” he said.

“It’s definitely a positive step forward.”

Winnipeggers Nick and Natalia Krawetz, from left, along with niece Anastasiia, and Natalia’s sister Maryana and brother-in-law Valeriy in a family photo in Budapest, Hungary. Anastasiia is currently a U of M student. (Submitted by Nick Krawetz)

It hits home for him because his niece Anastasiia came to Manitoba to study at the U of M in October.

Her dream of getting a Canadian education was derailed when Russia invaded her homeland and now her parents and little brother are displaced.

“Her parents are cut off from finances. They cannot work, naturally, given that their jobs were in Kyiv. Her future was under threat,” Krawetz said.

“This support today certainly provides some reassurance that she can continue her dreams. And that certainly makes me very happy.”

He hopes other universities follow suit and cover the full tuition of students from Ukraine impacted by the war.

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