The Whanganui UCOL campus has awarded 41 scholarships worth a total of $45,000 - the highest number given out in a single year.
UCOL Whanganui campus manager Bronwyn Paul said that with over 80 applicants, it was difficult to choose the scholarship recipients.
"We've never had this many applications before - 2020 has been a challenging year for a lot of students. Covid-19 has meant they've had to study from home, which has led to increased costs, and some have their part-time jobs. We're proud to offer them this financial support.
"We had very high calibre recipients this year. So many of our students are not just focusing on their programmes of study; they're already looking ahead to their career pathways and what their next step will be when they leave UCOL."
Scholarship recipients were chosen based on their academic achievements, effort, future plans, character, financial situation and how they contribute to UCOL and their community.
"I contacted potential donors and just told them about how tough it has been for students this year, how some have lost jobs, how they are mums and dads juggling their studies with raising their families, and if there was a time to donate, this year would be it," Paul said. "It's been amazing to see the community stand up in response.
"We encourage the students to write letters and keep in touch with the donors. It means a lot to the donors to share in the students' journeys. They keep supporting the scholarships because they know they're making a difference in students' lives."
For Bachelor of Applied Management student Huki-Ana Bishop-Williams, the awards ceremony was a double blessing – she was awarded the Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand Scholarship and Te Rūnanga o Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa Scholarship. She said the overwhelming feeling for her is gratitude.
"Now that I'm in the second year of my studies, I've needed more books and resources, so my scholarships will go towards that and any expenses that pop up."
Consistently achieving A and A+ grades, Bishop-Williams is well on her way to achieving her goal of becoming a chartered accountant.
"I've always loved number-crunching. After my kids were born, I wanted to get more involved in my iwi and hapū in my hometown of Whanganui, and I thought accounting would be a great career path to look into."
Nine local organisations and trusts donated scholarships, along with Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand. New donors Te Rūnanga o Ngā Wairiki Ngāti Apa, Whanganui and Partners and Action Coach Business Coaching joined long-term donors Akoranga Education Trust, Arthur Wheeler Leedstown Trust, Combined Rotary Clubs of Wanganui, George Bolton Trust and Whanganui Education Trust.