Applications open next week for BayTrust’s $100,000 Dillon Scholarship fund which can help Western Bay students with significant physical or intellectual disabilities to pursue tertiary study in 2022.
Former Tauranga Boys' College student Jordan Clere is one of 32 local recipients this year and is using his scholarship to pay for his laptop, textbooks and transport costs to attend Waikato University where he’s studying a Bachelor of Business Studies.
The 20 year-old was born with club feet and also suffers from a condition that weakens the muscles in his lower legs and feet.
After more than 10 operations, he’s now able to stand and walk but his disability prevents him from doing part-time entry-level jobs that most students apply for.
“I can’t stand up for long periods of time so it’s not an option to work in hospitality or retail,” he explains.
“I decided to enroll at university so I can get eventually get an office-based job and I’m majoring in management and finance.”
Jordan has received a Dillon Scholarship for the past three years and is urging other local students to apply.
“The application process is really easy and it takes the pressure off paying for all those small costs like parking and petrol which can get expensive.”
The unique annual scholarship fund has awarded a total of $1.93m to more than 500 Bay of Plenty students since it first began in 1990
It’s designed to level the playing field as students with disabilities often face additional study costs compared to their able-bodied peers.
It also allows recipients to concentrate on studying rather than having to work part-time or worrying about how to make ends meet, and helps pay for things like medical bills, learning aides, special equipment and transport.
There is no age restriction and those eligible may receive up to $5000 per year for a maximum of five years to help them obtain tertiary qualifications.
BayTrust CEO Alastair Rhodes says Jordan’s story is a reminder why eligible Western Bay students should apply for the Dillon scholarship if they need extra support.
“Our first scholarships in 1990 awarded a total of $1800. We’re now approaching the $2m mark and it’s always inspiring to hear the aspirations of students with significant disabilities. The challenges they have to overcome just to get to class each day are incredible and BayTrust is fortunate to be able to support them in this way.”
Dillon Scholarship funds can help pay for any costs reasonably associated with tertiary study and can include course fees, books, computers and living costs.
“The beauty of this scholarship is there are no boundaries around it,” Rhodes says.
“The recipients can choose to use the money for whatever they need. I hope it continues well into the future and keep the original spirit of helping people with significant disabilities.
“It’s something we have right here in the Bay of Plenty that doesn’t exist anywhere else in New Zealand which is pretty special.”
BayTrust will consider applications from students whose home base is within the Bay of Plenty, and who are applying to study at university, polytechnic or other New Zealand-based institutions in a course recognised by NZQA or equivalent.
Applications for the Dillon Scholarship open on Monday, November 1, and will close on January 14 for the 2022 academic year.
Bay of Plenty students who have a medically-recognised significant disability can apply on-line by visiting http://www.baytrust.org.nz/dillon-scholarship or phoning BayTrust on 0800 654 546.