Students heading to university in the province got an unpleasant surprise when they discovered that all Alberta scholarships are on hold until later in the fall. That means that students vying for scholarships will have to wait until the school year is already underway before putting in their applications.

Normally, scholarship applications are accepted as early as Aug. 1. However, according to the Alberta student aid website, a "major technology upgrade to streamline the application and payment process for scholarships and awards" is the reason for the delay.

Alberta's well-known Alexander Rutherford Scholarship was part of the delay. While most students could expect to see the payments from this scholarship in September, the delay means that they will be waiting longer.

This change in the scholarship system has not been great for prospective students, who expressed their frustration at having money they earned through academic achievement being withheld. "Since I won’t be getting the scholarship, I’ll have to start working more and I have a full course load as well at the university," student Megan Mullen told CityNews.

Demetrios Nicolaides, Alberta's Minister of Advanced Education, tried to offer reassurance online that nothing had been cancelled, and that students would be able to apply for their scholarships once the system went back up. Still, it wasn't comforting for students who had to pay tuition right away.

Some parents wanted to know why this information was given to them so late in the process, considering the update was supposedly beginning in 2018.

At least one Twitter user pointed out that this information was also never shared with high school counsellors who would have been able to share the information with their students.

On top of scholarship delays, the province's internship program, which also offers grants to future students, has also been delayed

The Alberta student aid website did offer some reassurance to students waiting for scholarships. It noted that student loans are still available.

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