The cost of getting a post-secondary education can be one of the biggest factors preventing Indigenous students from enrolling. Between travel, tuition, and living expenses, many simply can’t afford to attend. To help, Advance Education Minister Marlin Schmidt says the province has committed seven million dollars in scholarships for this year. The effects of this are already being felt at Portage College.
“This year the (Indigenous Careers) awards will be offered in both terms,” says Communications Officer with Portage Jaime Davies. “Because of the award deadline last year they were only offered in the second term. The number of awards given this term has doubled from last year. That’s due to health careers being added (to the list of eligible programs.) So we had more studentsin practical nursing and community social work that could apply for the grant.”
Davies says last year thirteen students received 50,000 dollars between them through the Indigenous Careers Award. This year however, the college is already at 62,000 to thirty-one students and they’re not even finished.
Undergraduate students in high-demand fields like business, education and technical training can get up to 4-thousand dollars, while graduate students can get up to 15-thousand. The next deadline is January 27th.