104 Disabled Canadian Post-Secondary Students Provided with Emergency COVID-19 Support through the NEADS 2020/2021 Accessibility Resilience Program
Ottawa, August 10, 2021
COVID-19 has placed an undue and disproportionate burden on Canadian post-secondary students with disabilities who have already faced immense socio-cultural and operational accessibility barriers prior to the pandemic. Some of these all-too-common accessibility challenges include rising tuition fees and a lack of transitional support for online learning, such as assistive technologies, devices, and software.
To help address these challenges and fulfill our mandate of supporting full access to post-secondary education, the National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS) launched the Accessibility Resilience Program, with generous support from the Government of Canada’s Supports for Student Learning Program through a contribution agreement. To date, the Accessibility Resilience Program has put a total of more than $165,800 directly into the hands of disabled students across the country.
Two key components guide our Accessibility Resilience Program: Emergency Relief Awards and Emergency Relief Grants.
Emergency Relief Awards: A contribution of $30,000 allowed NEADS to expand its 2020 Student Awards Program by offering 10 new awards of $3000 each. These awards, alongside NEADS’ annual scholarships, are available to disabled post-secondary students across Canada. All applicants of the 2020 NEADS Student Awards Program were automatically made eligible for these emergency relief awards.
Emergency Relief Grants: Through grants of $5000 and $1000, $135,800 was provided to post-secondary students with disabilities to reimburse the unforeseen costs related to the transition to online/remote learning, including tuition fees, internet bills, assistive technology, and more.
The 2021 NEADS Accessibility Resilience Program received 393 English applications and 40 French applications - many of which were submitted by students identifying as Indigenous, a member of a visible minority group, and/or from various gender identities.
NEADS is pleased to announce that a total of 104 disabled post-secondary students across Canada have received emergency COVID-19 financial support through its 2020/2021 Accessibility Resilience Program. 10 students received awards of $3000, 11 students received grants of $5000, and 83 students received grants of $1000 – for a total of over $165,800 in direct financial assistance!
Recipients of the Accessibility Resilience Program attend the following universities and colleges:
• King’s University College at Western University
• Seneca College
• Queen’s University
• Carleton University
• Western University
• Memorial University of Newfoundland
• Simon Fraser University
• University of Manitoba
• Vancouver Career College
• British Columbia Institute of Technology
• University of Winnipeg
• University of British Columbia
• University of Victoria
• Université du Québec a Montréal
• Mount Royal University
• Dalhousie University
• University of Windsor
• University of New Brunswick
• Ontario Tech University
• York University
• University of Calgary
• St. Thomas University
• Kwantlen Polytechnic University
• University of Toronto
• Mount Allison University
• Lakehead University
• University of Ottawa
• University of Saskatchewan
• Université de Saint Boniface
• University of Prince Edward Island
Some testimonials from our recipients:
“Thank you so much for this financial support. This award is an absolute honour to receive. Since the pandemic began my financial situation has been unstable and this sum has allowed me to pay for an entire semester of university.”
“I am very grateful for the financial support from NEADS, which has enabled me to focus on my schoolwork and complete my degree.”
“I cannot express in words how much this means to me. I appreciate your kindness in considering me and providing me with funding towards my degree. This is big news, and I am simply speechless.”
"We are so pleased to have provided $165,800 to 104 deserving students with disabilities through the Accessibility Resilience Program. Throughout this pandemic, students with disabilities have faced significant challenges from having to rethink accessibility and accommodations, to the lack of transitional and tailored support for online learning, to rising tuition fees. Despite new challenges we continue to see so much strength and resilience from recipients. We are so proud of each and every one of you! "
- Lauren Gravis, Director of NEADS Student Awards
View the PowerPoint presentation on the program online.
For More Information:
For more information on the NEADS Accessibility Resilience Program and/or NEADS Student Awards program, please contact Lauren Gravis, Director of Student Awards at firstname.lastname@example.org; Katja Newman, Student Awards Program Manager at email@example.com; Eniola Akisanmi, NEADS Student Awards Officer or consult our online directory of financial assistance for post-secondary students with disabilities, www.disabilityawards.ca
National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS)
Rm. 514 Unicentre, Carleton University
Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6