Seven months after Northwest Community College first accepted and then rejected $15,000 from Enbridge for student bursaries, the money is being distributed.
And, said an Enbridge official, it has increased the original $15,000 sum to $20,000.
In all, eight students enrolled in either the college’s trades, technology, science and environmental programs will each receive $2,500.
“We initially budgeted for six bursaries, but after reading these compelling applications we realized the need was greater than we expected. So we increased the amount to eight bursaries,” said Enbridge official Catherine Pennington.
Enbridge has been heavily criticized for its plan to build the Northern Gateway pipeline to carry crude oil from Alberta through northern B.C. to a marine export terminal at Kitimat.
The original acceptance of the money, which at the time followed college policy, was heatedly debated at a subsequent college board meeting with some members arguing that accepting the money would be wrong.
A majority of the board members then passed a motion to return the money.
But the college also pledged to assist in getting the money to students.
Enbridge’s Pennington described the bursary applications as “incredibly personal and moving,”
“I hugely admire Northern Gateway for supporting the students of the Pacific Northwest to make their dreams come true. As a student who struggles every year to save money for school, I know that every little bit of help counts,” said bursary recipient Terra Nord, a second year student at the college’s Terrace campus.
She’s working on an associate of science degree in environmental science with a goal of obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree.