Gaps in post-secondary participation have not narrowed despite better
financial aid

MONTREAL, Nov. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada has made little progress on narrowing the "access gaps" that affect the participation in post-secondary education by young people from different backgrounds, according to the fourth edition of The Price of Knowledge, published today by the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation. As a result, youth from low-income families, children of parents who have little or no post-secondary education and Aboriginal peoples remain under-represented in higher education.

The report shows that wealthier Canadians are twice as likely to go to university as poorer ones. Other gaps, such as those separating the educational outcomes of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians, are also stubbornly persistent.

While these gaps persist, governments are spending a significant amount of money providing financial aid to post-secondary students:

    - The average amount of need-based aid increased by 20 percent, or $1,750
      per recipient, between 2004 and 2007.
    - Canadian governments now provide more than $4.4 billion worth of
      student loans, grants and loan reduction payments to students with
      financial need (2007-08 figures).
    - Need-based aid received by students as a non-repayable grant or loan
      remission payment made up 34 percent of total need-based aid in
      2007-08, the highest proportion ever.

Unfortunately, the provision of money is not enough to equalize participation for all Canadians. The report shows that financial barriers to post-secondary participation are compounded by other factors, such as socio-economic conditions, academic performance, individual behaviour (e.g., motivation, aspirations, etc.) and environmental conditions (e.g., the distance one lives from a post-secondary institution). Nevertheless, it goes on to suggest that a modernized student financial aid system could be part of a comprehensive strategy to improve access and student success.

The report provides updated figures on the value of a post-secondary credential, the costs facing students and the resources available to them, as well as levels of student debt.

    Click here to download a copy of The Price of Knowledge.

The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is a private, independent organization created by an act of Parliament in 1998, with a mandate to deliver bursaries and scholarships to Canadian post-secondary students until the end of 2009. The Foundation has awarded more than one million bursaries and scholarships, worth more $3.2 billion, to Canadian post-secondary students. For more information, visit


For further information: For further information: Jean Lapierre, Communications Director, Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, (514) 284-7235, (514) 213-2262 (cell),

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