Canadians head back to school, Aboriginal students still shut out
OTTAWA, Sept. 10 /CNW/ - While college and university students across the country have started their classes, thousands of Aboriginal students are unable to access post-secondary education due to a lack of funding.
"The government of Canada is failing Aboriginal peoples," said Cassandra Opikokew, Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students. "The arbitrary cap on funding for Aboriginal education is shutting thousands of students out of the system."
Between 1996 and 2006 the Aboriginal population in Canada grew by 45%. However, funding increases to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP), the main funding mechanism for Aboriginal students have been capped at 2%. In 1996, the year the cap was put in place, the PSSSP provided funding to approximately 27,000 students. As a result of population growth, increasing tuition fees, and inflation the PSSSP funds fewer students, with only 23,000 receiving funding in 2009.
Since the cap was implemented it is estimated that more than 15,000 Aboriginal people have been shut out of college and university. Additionally, the Federal government currently funds Status Indian and Inuit peoples only, leaving non-Status and Métis peoples without dedicated support.
"The federal government must live up to its treaty obligations and ensure that every able and willing Aboriginal student can access post-secondary education," added Opikokew.
Founded in 1981, the Canadian Federation of Students is Canada's largest student organization, uniting over one-half million students from all ten provinces. The National Aboriginal Caucus of the Canadian Federation of Students is the national voice of Aboriginal students at universities and colleges in Canada.For further information:
or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Cassandra Opikokew, National Aboriginal Caucus Chairperson 306.537.2043 (cellular)
David Molenhuis, National Chairperson 613.232.7394 (office)