After two years, the Skule™ Mental Health Bursary has become an important source of support to U of T Engineering students — and its founders are looking to further expand the program.
“We created this bursary because many students told us that the high cost of access to off-campus mental health services is a barrier for them,” says Sania Hameed, Associate Director, Student Experience & Teaching Development at U of T Engineering.
“We’re proud of the impact it has had so far, but we know that there is much more we could be doing.”
Launched in September 2021, the bursary was created by the U of T Engineering Society in partnership with the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. Students can apply to receive up to $450 toward the cost of counselling, workshops, peer support groups, therapy sessions, resource guides, medication, assistive devices and more.
The program is meant to supplement other sources of support provided by U of T, such as through the Health and Wellness portal or through services such as U of T Telus Health Student Support. Applications for the Fall session are open from September 5 to October 6, and the application form can be found on the U of T Award Explorer.
The bursary receives a fixed amount of funding for the fall semester and winter semester each year. This funding is distributed by an adjudication committee that includes representation from the U of T Engineering Registrar’s Office, student leaders from the U of T Engineering Society, and the Mental Health Programs Officer.
According to reports filed by this committee, 18 students have so far received funding through the program, with the total funding available being used up completely each semester. However, many more have applied.
“When we created this program, it was envisioned as a pilot, but it was always intended to grow and expand over time,” says Tegbir Singh Chandhok (Year 3 MechE), Mental Wellness Director for the U of T Engineering Society.
“It’s clear that this bursary is meeting a real need, so we are hoping that the community will step up to invest in student mental health.”
U of T Engineering has created a support page for donations to the Skule™ Mental Health Bursary. To further enhance the fund, both the Engineering Society (EngSoc) and Dean Christopher Yip will each match all contributions, resulting in a 2:1 match that triples the impact of each gift, up to a maximum of $50,000.
“The four or five years you spend as a U of T Engineering undergraduate are very powerful in terms of setting the tone for your future career and life path,” says Tom Coyle, Vice-Dean, Undergraduate at U of T Engineering.
“Having a talk with the right person at the right time can be one of the most powerful ways to have a positive impact, one that will resonate for years to come.”