Province Provides $3 Million in New Funding for Aboriginal Student Awards

June 25, 2012 – A new aboriginal post-secondary action plan announced by the Province of British Columbia includes $3 million in additional funding for the Aboriginal Student Awards offered by the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society.

The post-secondary education and training policy framework and action plan expands programs that support improved post-secondary opportunities and outcomes for First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples. The provincial government is investing a total of $16.2 million to help Aboriginal students succeed at their post-secondary studies, including the $3 million for the BC Aboriginal Student Awards. Of that amount, $1 million is earmarked to support Aboriginal students taking master and doctoral degrees.

Naomi Yamamoto, Advanced Education Minister"Post-secondary education makes a big difference in students’ lives, and in the lives of their families. The B.C. Aboriginal Student Award encourages Aboriginal students to start, stay in and succeed in higher education by increasing accessibility and support." said Advanced Education Minister, Naomi Yamamoto.

The B.C. Aboriginal Student Awards are funded from an endowment fund established in 2007 by the Province with an initial investment of $10 million. Awards of $1,000 – $5,000 are given annually to Aboriginal students pursuing post-secondary education in B.C.

The Province invested another $2 million in the program in February of this year to create the Aboriginal Teacher Education Award Program, which will support Aboriginal students enrolled in a teacher education program at a public post-secondary in British Columbia.

Hugh Gordon, chair of the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society“It’s exciting and gratifying to see the strength of the province’s commitment to Aboriginal students,” said Hugh Gordon, chair of the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society. “Aboriginal youth are the fastest-growing demographic in the province yet they remain under-represented in our post-secondary institutions. Collaborations like this will help support their educational success – to the benefit of both the students and our society.”

The Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society works with The Victoria Foundation to provide scholarships and awards to students throughout the province and internationally. To date, the society has awarded more than $3.8 million from six programs – including $794,000 to Aboriginal students in B.C.

To find out more about the Aboriginal Student Awards and other programs offered by the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society, visit www.bcscholarship.ca or call The Victoria Foundation at 250-381-5532.

Media contacts:

Stephanie Slater, Director of Communications
Victoria Foundation
250-381-5532 250 686-8477 (cell)
sslater@victoriafoundation.bc.ca

Joanne Whittier, Communications Manager
Ministry of Advanced Education
250 952-6400