In response to the current worldwide refugee crisis, Georgian College President and CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes today announced the creation of the Georgian College Award for Refugees and Displaced Persons.

Effective immediately, this new award will cover the cost of tuition, textbooks and ancillary fees for up to seven Syrian refugees —  one studying at each of Georgian’s seven campuses in Barrie, Orillia, Owen Sound, Midland, Muskoka (Bracebridge), Orangeville, and South Georgian Bay (Collingwood).

The first students to qualify could start studies as soon as January 2016, depending on their program.

While the initial focus of the award is on providing learning opportunities for Syrian refugees, it could be adapted for students from other countries in the future, said West-Moynes.

“This scholarship will support up to seven students affected by the events in Syria, covering the full cost of their studies and offering them a chance at a brighter future,” said West-Moynes. “At Georgian, we believe education should be accessible to all – it can change lives and transform communities. Our hearts break for the millions forced to flee their homes, many separated from their families. We hope this award will offer a ray of hope to those who need it most.”

The college anticipates working with local community sponsors of Syrian refugees and other agencies in encouraging applications.

To be eligible for the award, applicants must be Syrian citizens and must be accepted to a Georgian program. They can choose to study in any one of the more than 125 full-time programs or part-time studies offered by Georgian. These include diploma, degree and graduate certificate programs. The award is renewable for each year of the student’s chosen program provided they remain in good academic standing.

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