Aboriginal students who experience a short-term financial crisis will now have access to emergency financial relief while they are attending school.
The $2-million Aboriginal Emergency Assistance fund is part of government's renewed commitment to improve post-secondary opportunities and outcomes for First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples through the Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education and Training Policy Framework and Action Plan.
The emergency fund was created when results from the University of Victoria's LE,NONET research project showed that having access to emergency funds can help Aboriginal students stay in school and complete their studies.
Including the emergency fund, government is investing a total of $16.2 million this year for programs and financial assistance to help Aboriginal students succeed at their post-secondary studies:
- $7 million in funding for partnerships between public post-secondary institutions and Aboriginal institutes and communities to deliver programs in Aboriginal communities that meet community needs and position them to take advantage of economic opportunities.
- $4.2 million in funding to 11 public post-secondary institutions for implementation of Aboriginal Service Plans, which consist of programs, activities and services to better meet the needs of Aboriginal learners.
- $2 million in additional funding for the BC Aboriginal Award, which provides financial assistance to Aboriginal students for post-secondary education and training.
- $1 million for financial assistance for Aboriginal students taking master and doctoral degrees.
John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology -
"We are working to ensure Aboriginal people in B.C. get the post-secondary education and training they need to get good jobs, support their families, and meet B.C.'s labour requirements. By supporting their needs while they are in school - including providing access to emergency funds while they are attending post-secondary - we are supporting Aboriginal learners to succeed as students, as well as down the road."
Ida Chong, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation -
"Our government is committed to improving the quality of life and educational experiences of Aboriginal students. Ensuring they have access to emergency assistance funds in the event of a crisis is one example of how this government is finding ways to encourage Aboriginal students to start, stay in and succeed in higher learning."
Janice Simcoe, Chair, Aboriginal Education & Community Connections, Camosun College -
"The Aboriginal Emergency Assistance program is having a profound effect on Aboriginal students at Camosun College. This program has enabled us to provide small but crucial supports as well as major assistance, such as enabling students to keep roofs over their heads despite family emergencies. So far, we have assisted over 20 students in need. For most of them, this program has been the difference between staying in school and leaving."
Aboriginal Post-secondary Education and Training: www.aved.gov.bc.ca/aboriginal/welcome.htm
Aboriginal Post-secondary Education and Training Policy Framework and Action Plan: www.aved.gov.bc.ca/aboriginal/policy-framework.htm
Camosun College Department of Aboriginal Education and Community Connections: http://camosun.ca/aboriginal/
Ministry of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology