Students are renowned for finding ways to stretch a dollar, but of more than $25 million available to Saskatchewan university students in the form of scholarships and bursaries, many of the awards go unclaimed.
At the University of Regina, one in 10 scholarships go unawarded.
Jennifer Marlowe, a fourth-year business student at the University of Regina, earned nearly $20,000 in scholarships in her first two years at school and hopes to graduate debt-free.
"I needed money for school and I didn't want to graduate with a huge pile of unmanageable debt," Marlowe said. "My parents have said that they will help me out with school, but I don't want to be a really big financial burden on them."
Not easy finding green
Some students just don't apply for the cash.
Teagan Schiltz, a second-year education student, says she doesn't actively seek scholarships out and once school starts she's too busy to find the ones that correspond to her skills.
"There's just so many that it's almost overwhelming," Schiltz said. "It's hard to find ones that you qualify for, I found."
Another student, Sonia Stanger, said she applies for scholarships, but it's not an easy feat.
"The website is really horrendous and it's really challenging to have to dig through and find the ones that I'm eligible for," she said. "But, ultimately, I guess, it is worth it if you need the money, but I guess if I didn't, I definitely wouldn't go through that process."
University of Regina provost Thomas Chase says the university suggests donors avoid casting too narrow a net.
"In talking about new scholarships with donors, we try to encourage donors, upon whom we depend for these funds, to consider criteria that are broad and that are open and benefit the maximum number of students."
A website called ScholarshipsCanada.com tallies scholarships and dollars that go unclaimed across the country each year. It's currently listing 77,744 awards worth over $100 million, and says around $3 million of that is unclaimed.
While some students worry they don't fit the requirements for many awards, Marlowe says she just goes for it.
"I've applied for ones that are for people of certain cultural groups, like Muslim students or aboriginal students, because you never know. If no one applies, you might just get it," Marlowe said.
At University of Regina, scholarship applications for the current semester are due October 1.
A scan of the scholarship listings shows some of the requirements are not what most people would expect, and some have little to do with academics. Here's a list of some of the various prizes that are up for grabs this term:
- Duck Brand Duct Tape "Stuck at Prom" Scholarship Contest — open to residents of US and Canada, 14 years old and up. Gave out a total of $43,000 in prize money. Premise was couples had to design outfits out of duct tape to wear to prom. Winning couple each received $5,000 to go towards their education
- Phyllis P. Harris Scholarship — $2,600 from Planned Parenthood Federation of Canada. Awarded to a student at a Canadian university working towards a degree related to sexual/reproductive health and rights (i.e. social work, nursing, psychology, sociology, political science, gender studies, etc.) Student must have 'B' average
- Ringette Saskatchewan Scholarship — four available scholarships, $500 each. Must be a player, coach, or official, active during the season of application, enrolled as a full-time student at a Saskatchewan university or college; a resident of Saskatchewan for at least one year prior to application
- Saskatchewan German Council Scholarship — for applicants majoring in German at the University of Saskatchewan. $500 for students in their 3rd year of study. Must be registered in at least one advanced German course
- Saskatchewan Hockey Association — (11 awards worth $1,000 each)
- Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association — (2 awards worth $1,000 each)
- Douglas Hayward Gunter Military History Scholarship — The scholarship will be awarded to a University of Regina undergraduate student who demonstrates an enthusiastic and knowledgeable engagement in classroom discussion, and has achieved a minimum 70% average in two history classes with military emphasis