$7 Million in Scholarships for Indigenous Post Secondary Students

NetNewsLedger on site at Chiefs of Ontario Education Symposium

EDMONTON – EDUCATION – The Government of Alberta is helping prepare Indigenous post-secondary students for success with $7 million in scholarships.

Minister Marlin Schmidt shakes hands with Denise Simmons and Paris Hazelwanter

Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt shakes hands with Denise Simmons (L) and Paris Hazelwanter (R), who have benefited from Indigenous student supports.

The financial awards are available to First Nations, Metis and Inuit students in programs that lead to careers in high-demand fields. Eligible undergraduate students may receive up to $4,000 per year and eligible graduate students may receive up to $15,000.

The program is part of the government’s commitment to ensuring that Albertans are “Future Ready” and have the skills and training they need to succeed in a changing economy. It is anticipated that up to 1,500 students will benefit from the awards every year.

“Every Albertan should have the same opportunity to pursue higher education, regardless of financial circumstances. These awards are helping reduce barriers for Indigenous students, creating opportunities to build the skills they need for rewarding, successful careers,” shares Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education.

During the 2015-16 pilot program, approximately 940 students received more than $4.3 million in grants for their post-secondary studies through the Indigenous Awards.

“These awards not only provide a direct financial benefit to learners like myself, they also provide hope, security and inspiration to learners who need extra support in making their dreams come true,” says Paris Hazelwanter, Bow Valley College student.

“Bow Valley College is grateful to receive this support from the Government of Alberta. These awards will have a tremendously positive impact on Indigenous learners as well as create even more opportunities to engage Indigenous communities in learning and achievement,” comments Sharon Carry, President and CEO, Bow Valley College.

Students can contact their Student Awards Office or visit their post-secondary institution’s website for application and deadline information. First Nations Colleges and publicly funded post-secondary institutions in Alberta administer and deliver the $7-million program.

In addition to these awards, Alberta’s student aid program has made a number of improvements for all post-secondary students, including increasing living allowances and loan limits, making loans and grants available to apprentices, and increasing grants to low-income students.

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