No clear path for STU refugee scholarship

    (Book Sadprasid\The Aquinian)
    (Book Sadprasid\The Aquinian)
    (Book Sadprasid\The Aquinian)

    In spite of St. Thomas’ plan to offer four full scholarships to Syrian refugees back in November, it is uncertain if any refugees will be taking advantage of the offer.
    Jeffrey Carleton, STU’s director of communications, told The Aquinian in an email, “I am not sure that there are any [refugees] coming to STU at this time.”
    A group of professors and staff members had previously discussed providing tuition and covering residence and food costs to four student refugees.
    However, the STU project is currently waiting to receive access to lists of government approved refugee families.
    Sylvia Hale, a sociology professor who is part of this initiative, said getting access to these lists requires being approved by a designated host organization.
    “The Saint John diocese let its official status [as a designated host organization] lapse so we had to apply to Halifax, and they are swamped,” said Hale.
    Aside from the lack of refugees and the hiccup in the Saint John diocese, Carleton said STU is ready to help however it can.
    “If we are approached by any refugee seeking to enroll, we will give it our highest priority to respond, from Admissions, to Students Services, to our Professors,” said Carleton.
    Hale said there is enough money collected to sponsor a family of five to seven for a year.
    “Getting new refugee students started in middle of semester would be tricky,” said Hale. “But we can certainly get them approved and set up for September with six months for developing language proficiency.”