High school scholarship rules changed

B.C.'s high school grads were leaving millions in scholarship money on the table by not writing optional final exams, so the education ministry has changed the system to make sure the aid gets to students who do well on mandatory tests.

Education Minister George Abbott

VICTORIA – B.C.’s high school grads were leaving millions in scholarship money on the table by not writing optional final exams, so the education ministry has changed the system to make sure the aid gets to students who do well on mandatory tests.

Optional scholarship exams for grade 12 have been dropped for this school year, after post-secondary institutions changed their admission criteria and no longer use grade 12 optional tests.

Provincial scholarships will now be awarded to students based on the required provincial exams in place for grades 10, 11 and 12. The exam system was changed in 2004 to reflect the different post-secondary pathways students can take.

Once they were not counted for post-secondary admission, only one in five grade 12 students chose to write optional scholarship exams. Provincial scholarships are typically $1,000, with the top 20 students receiving $2,500, and before the changes, B.C. used to give out about $5 million worth.

Courses that now have required provincial exams are Science 10, Apprenticeship and Workplace Mathematics 10, Foundations of Mathematics and Pre-calculus 10, Social Studies 11, B.C. First Nations Studies 12, Civic Studies 11, English 10, English 10 First Peoples, French 12 and Communications 12.

“B.C.’s exam program continues to be one of the most rigorous in Canada,” Education Minister George Abbott said. “Our students compete globally, and we know one of the best ways we can support their bright future is through a solid post-secondary education.

“That’s why we’ve modernized our provincial scholarship criteria to better assist and reward students in their pursuit of higher education.”