Island university waives tuition for some
Aug 18, 2013 / 12:00 pm
Vancouver Island University is taking the lead on a new initiative aimed at making post-secondary education more accessible for youth in care.
Beginning September 2013, VIU will run a pilot project – the Youth in Care Tuition Waiver Program – and waive tuition for eligible students who have grown up in the care system. It will be the first step in overcoming financial barriers that make it difficult for these students to consider and achieve success in higher education.
VIU is committed to taking the lead on this project particularly because many families in the regions VIU serves live below the poverty line. On Vancouver Island alone there are just over 900 youth in care under a continuing custody order, the majority of whom (63.8%) are Aboriginal, a percentage that has been on the rise for seven years.
Studies have also shown that “even with some tuition money available to youth in care, they are 50% more likely to attend post-secondary education”. Programs such as the Tuition Waiver Program are a critical piece in ensuring more youth in care can go on to access post-secondary education and the myriad of opportunities it affords, including better employment options and increased self-sufficiency.
VIU has been in discussion with the Government of British Columbia, the Representative for Children and Youth and various regional child and family service authorities to launch the program. Discussions are also occurring with respect to covering additional costs for the students.
The program is the first of its kind in B.C. and over the course of the year, VIU will work with participating students to identify other financial barriers or necessary supports they need to achieve success including housing, books, work study opportunities or counselling.
The pilot project will begin at VIU in September 2013. Students may be eligible for this tuition waiver if they meet the following criteria:
- Have applied and been accepted to Vancouver Island University
- Must be at least 18 or turning 18 in the 2013/2014 academic year
- Demonstrate financial need
- Recommended by a child and family services agency
“Congratulations to Vancouver Island University for being the first out the door with this program. I encourage all our public post-secondary institutions to follow in their footsteps,” said Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk.
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