Thompson Rivers University

TRU introduces First-Year Student Resiliency Fund

  Posted on: July 28, 2020


Dean donates $10K to help during difficult times

Students beginning university this fall will have an experience unlike any incoming class. Post-secondary school looks different but education is more important than ever. That’s why Thompson Rivers University (TRU) is creating new bursaries and awards for first-year students embarking on their studies amid unforeseen financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The university aims to raise $50,000 to provide up to 100 first-year students with additional tuition support through the new First-Year Student Resiliency Fund. The TRU Foundation will match up to $25,000 donated to the fund and the Dean of the Faculty of Education and Social Work, Airini, is personally donating $10,000.

“One thing I’ve learned from living in Kamloops is that we give however we can and together our help adds up to something big,” said Dean Airini. “COVID-19 has affected so many in our communities. TRU offers one way forward, preparing students to be active community members and genuine leaders. If there was ever a time to recognize the potential and resilience of our future students, it is now. We don’t want their pace to slow.”

Airini, Dean of the Faculty of Education and Social Work
Airini, Dean of the Faculty of Education and Social Work

Airini sees the passion students have for making a difference in their communities—and wants no student to miss out on the opportunity to realize that calling. The less time students spend worrying about how to finance their education, the more time they can spend excelling. It’s important to set students up for success because they are the ones who will make our communities better and stronger, Airini said.

Education and living-away-from-home costs for the average undergraduate student total $20,000 per year.

“Many students rely on summer savings and part-time work during the school year and both of those opportunities are significantly diminished,” said Gordon Down, director of Student Awards & Financial Aid. “Awards supported by donors are a tangible indication for students that someone cares about their educational journey and is using their own money to invest in them.”

Students who are in dire financial need or are unable to accumulate debt, non-traditional learners and those who are the first in their family to attend post-secondary school are especially vulnerable during this economic crisis and risk postponing their education. No student should have to delay their education indefinitely.

“TRU is committed to addressing these challenges in every way possible,” said Vice-President of University Relations Brian Daly. “The positive impact TRU graduates have in their communities will not be delayed because they cannot afford to start university now.”

Brian Daly, Vice-President of University Relations
Brian Daly, Vice-President of University Relations

TRU recognizes its students’ challenges are closely related to the economic issues faced by Interior cities and rural communities. The university—through its operations, students, and alumni—provides a significant boost to the regional economy, estimated at $705.3 million annually. Put another way, one in nine jobs in the region are supported by TRU, its students, and graduates.  

Anyone can contribute to the First-Year Student Resiliency Fund by visiting and making a donation by Aug. 31 so awards are available for the fall term. To learn more about contributing support, contact Diana Major at or 250-320-0954.

Students can learn more about how to apply for the awards starting Aug. 1 at

Thompson Rivers University is hosting a free public event so prospective students can find out more about their financial options. This virtual event, University affordability in a COVID-19 era, is slated for Wednesday, Aug. 5, at 6 p.m. on TRU’s YouTube channel. Prospective and returning students can get answers to their questions about enrolling this fall, including how to pay for school. Anyone can join in here.