Osgoode Hall Law School establishes special fund to assist JD students experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19  

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TORONTO, February 23, 2021 – In a gesture of support for its Juris Doctor (JD) students who are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University has announced that it will commit $1 to $1.5 million to assist those students over the next 18 months.

The Osgoode student relief plan will see up to $500,000 of the Law School’s surplus funds made available in the current (2020-2021) academic year to students in all three years of the JD program. An additional amount of up to $500,000 will also be available in the upcoming (2021-2022) academic year.

The decision to offer the financial assistance follows on the heels of a report by the Law School’s Working Group on Tuition Fees that detailed student concerns about the economic effects of the pandemic, particularly unexpected expenses associated with learning from home and loss of employment opportunities. “Students were placed under increasing pressure by the fact that the Law School was closed and that this would increase the costs of adjusting to the new status quo,” said the report’s authors.

The seven-member working group – comprised of students, staff and faculty including a representative from the Dean’s office – concluded that some relief to students was both desirable and possible.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has financially impacted many of our students,” said Osgoode Dean Mary Condon.  “We know that they are having challenges as a result of all of the ways that learning is being transformed. We want them to know that we are doing our very best to support them through these difficulties.”

The first $500,000 will be distributed to students by the end of March, Condon said.

“The way it will work is that all students who received a fall bursary will automatically receive an additional top-up of either $500 or $1,000, depending on the level of their fall bursary assessment,” Condon said. “In addition, students who did not apply for a fall bursary, or who applied and did not receive a fall bursary and have experienced financial hardship directly related to COVID-19, will be invited to apply for assistance and, if eligible, will receive $500 each.”

Condon said this is not the first time that the Law School has provided financial relief to students who are feeling the economic effects of the pandemic and the overall financial burden of attending law school.

Last September, the Law School was able to ease some mental and economic strain by creating a $250,000 fund to assist returning JD students who had lost income or had unexpected expenses since March 15, 2020 that were directly attributable to COVID-19, she said.

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About Osgoode Hall Law School

Osgoode Hall Law School of York University has a proud history of 132 years of leadership and innovation in legal education and legal scholarship. A total of about 900 students are enrolled in Osgoode’s three-year Juris Doctor (JD) Program as well as joint and combined programs. The school’s highly selective Graduate Program in Law is also one of the finest in the country and one of the most highly regarded in North America. In addition, Osgoode Professional Development, which operates out of Osgoode’s facility in downtown Toronto, offers both degree and non-degree programming for Canadian and international lawyers, non-law professionals, firms and organizations. Osgoode has an internationally renowned faculty of almost 60 full-time professors, and more than 100 adjunct professors. Our respected community of more than 18,000 alumni are leaders in the legal profession and in many other fields in Canada and across the globe.

About York University

York University is known for championing new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-discipline programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 26 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 300,000 alumni. York U’s fully bilingual Glendon campus is home to Southern Ontario’s Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

Media Contacts:

Virginia Corner, Communications Manager, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, 416-736-5820, vcorner@osgoode.yorku.ca

Gloria Suhasini, York University Media Relations, 416-736-2100 ext. 22094, suhasini@yorku.ca