Crown Wards Get More Help At School



    
    McGuinty Government Creates Championship Teams And Improves Financial
    Support
    

    TORONTO, Feb. 19 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    Ontario is helping Crown wards succeed at college and university.
    Three new Education Championship Teams will offer mentorship, peer
support, motivation and guidance in three Ontario communities. Teams include
volunteers from local school boards, children's aid societies, postsecondary
institutions, community agencies, Employment Ontario and provincial
ministries.
    In their first year of operation, four Championship Teams helped
approximately 350 students. The government's investment increases the number
of teams helping Crown wards to seven.
    Crown wards who pursue postsecondary education and training may also
receive financial aid through tuition grants, reimbursement of
university/college entrance application fees, and certain exemptions from
Ontario Student Assistance Program
(https://osap.gov.on.ca/eng/eng_osap_main.html) income assessments.
    Support for Crown wards is also a component of Ontario's Poverty
Reduction Strategy (http://www.growingstronger.ca/english/default.asp), which
will reduce the number of children living in poverty by 25 per cent over 5
years - lifting 90,000 kids out of poverty - by boosting benefits for
low-income families and enhancing publicly-funded education.

    QUOTES

    "By removing the barriers to education faced by Crown wards, we are
closer to realizing our goal of ensuring all Ontarians are equipped for
success in our knowledge-based economy," said John Milloy
(http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/general/biography/tcu_minister.html), Minister
of Training, Colleges and Universities.
    "We know that young people who have been in the care of children's aid
societies experience unique challenges as they enter adulthood," said Children
and Youth Services Minister Deb Matthews
(http://www.gov.on.ca/children/english/ministry/minister/index.html). "But
with a good education and the right supports, I'm confident they can achieve
their dreams."
    "Crown Wards often face multiple obstacles in their quest for succeeding
in high school and in the pursuit of post-secondary education and training,"
said Leeanna Pendergast, MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga. "These new championship
teams will provide them with the educational support needed to pursue the road
to higher education."

    
    QUICK FACTS

    -  There are approximately 9,500 Crown wards in Ontario, and 53
       Children's Aid Societies.

    -  Three new Championship Teams in Waterloo/Guelph/Wellington, Simcoe and
       Hamilton/Brant/Haldimand-Norfolk will receive start-up funding of
       $150,000 each.

    -  Existing teams in Toronto, London, Ottawa and Thunder Bay will receive
       additional funding of $75,000 each.


    LEARN MORE

    -  Financial help specifically for students who are Crown wards is
       explained in this Backgrounder
       (http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/nr/09.02/bg0219a.html).

    -  Support for Crown wards is also a component of Ontario's Poverty
       Reduction Strategy.

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                                               ontario.ca/postsecondary-news
                                                      Disponible en français



    BACKGROUNDER
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                 REMOVING BARRIERS TO CROWN WARDS' EDUCATION

    One of the barriers to postsecondary education faced by Crown wards is the
challenge of paying for it. Ontario offers a number of financial support
programs and incentives for Crown wards and for students from low-income
families:

    -  Students may receive up to $3,500 in scholarships and bursaries before
       there is any reduction in student loans provided to Crown wards
       through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)
       (https://osap.gov.on.ca/eng/eng_osap_main.html).

    -  Savings from the Ontario Child Benefit Equivalent will not reduce the
       OSAP loans available to Crown wards. Withdrawals from Registered
       Education Savings Plans established by children's aid societies on
       behalf of Crown wards are also exempt.

    -  The Ontario Access Grant for Crown Wards 
(http://osap.gov.on.ca/eng/not_secure/Plan_Grants_full_newapp_CW_12345.htm)
       provides current (and former) Crown wards with a tuition grant for
       each year of their first postsecondary program for up to four years.
       This grant is available regardless of the number of years the student
       has been out of high school.

    -  A student in a one-year postsecondary program receives a one-time
       grant covering 100 per cent of tuition costs (maximum $3,000). A
       student in a two-year-or-longer program receives a grant covering
       50 per cent of tuition costs (maximum $3,000) for each year of the
       program, for up to four years.

    -  The Crown Ward Postsecondary Application Fee Reimbursement Program
       (http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/tcu/students/ocwp.html) refunds
       students' college and university application fees.

    -  There are 53 children's aid societies in Ontario; many also offer
       bursaries to current and former Crown wards under their care.

    -  New funds equivalent to the Ontario Child Benefit will be set aside
       for older Crown wards and can be used to fund postsecondary education
       and will not reduce the OSAP loans available to Crown wards.
       Withdrawals from Registered Education Savings Plans established by
       children's aid societies on behalf of Crown wards are also exempt.

    -  In addition, the new funds equivalent to the Ontario Child Benefit
       will ensure recreational, educational, cultural and social
       opportunities are accessible to children and youth in care across the
       province.

    -  The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities will launch new
       web pages on its website
       (http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/tcu/students/ocwp.html) that describe
       financial support and other information specifically for Crown wards
       moving on to postsecondary education. The web-based resource will come
       online in Spring 2009.

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                                               ontario.ca/postsecondary-news
                                                      Disponible en français
    






For further information:

For further information: Annette Phillips, Minister's Office, (416)
326-5748; Tanya Blazina, Communications Branch, (416) 325-2746

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