U of T has announced a goal to give $1 million in bursaries to students affected by the refugee crisis in Syria.

At the Academic Affairs Committee meeting on September 17, U of T president Meric Gertler announced that U of T is expanding the Scholars-at-Risk program with a new bursary intended for students who have been affected by the Syrian refugee crisis.

The program aims to provide “humanitarian assistance for a small number of distinguished academics and outstanding students” in regions affected by strife.

He added that U of T is creating the bursaries to help high-achieving students who wish to study at U of T. These bursaries would be worth $10,000 each and they will be distributed to at-risk students over the next 10 years.

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, over the last four years, an estimated nine million Syrians have been displaced from their homes due to the civil war.

Gertler explained that U of T will match donations of up to $500,000 from members of the U of T community, including students, faculty, and others. These funds will be allocated to serve refugees in Syria as well as other refugees from around the world.

U of T is also participating in the Lifeline Syria Challenge spearheaded by Ryerson University. The challenge aims to bring 25 Syrian families or 100 people who would resettle in the GTA.

Ryerson has created 25 sponsorship teams, who have each agreed to support one Syrian family for up to one year. According to Ryerson’s website, the estimated cost of supporting one family is $27,000 and several students will help support the sponsorship teams.

Other GTA institutions involved in the initiative include York and OCAD.

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