TORONTO, June 25, 2013 /CNW/ - Crown wards in Ontario will see increased access to post-secondary education thanks to a new government program announced today at the University of Toronto by Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities Brad Duguid. Students were excited by Minister Duguid's announcement of the 100% Tuition Aid For Youth Leaving Care program, under which the Province of Ontario will cover 50 per cent of a Crown ward's tuition, with universities and participating colleges covering the remaining 50 per cent up to a maximum of $6000 per year. Accompanying this, the Province has committed to extending the length of the existing Living and Learning Grant, providing Crown wards $500 per month up until that age of 24 towards their living expenses during their studies.
"The 100% Tuition Aid For Youth Leaving Care program represents an important investment towards increasing access to higher education for one of Ontario's most vulnerable populations," said Amir Eftekarpour, President of the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA). "Crown wards face significant barriers to pursuing a post-secondary degree and students are appreciative that the implementation of the program will not affect their eligibility for other loans and grants."
A January 2013 report commissioned by The Ministry of Children and Youth Services identified education and employment as areas where the Province could do more to support youth leaving care. Youth within Ontario's foster care system have significantly lower high school graduation rates, with only 44 per cent of Crown wards receiving a high school diploma compared to an 82 per cent average for the province. Crown wards are also disproportionally likely to be Aboriginal, with 22 per cent of children and youth in foster care in Ontario identified as First Nations, Métis or Inuit.
"The announcement of 100% Tuition Aid For Youth Leaving Care program by the Province recognizes that for many Crown wards, Ontario's high university tuition rates had previously made the pursuit of higher education unlikely or even impossible," said Stephen Franchetto, Vice-President Finance of OUSA. "Students hope that the Province's investment signals a renewed effort to improve post-secondary access rates for underrepresented groups at Ontario's universities and colleges.
About the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance (OUSA)
OUSA represents the interests of over 140,000 professional and undergraduate, full- and part-time university students at eight member associations across Ontario.
SOURCE: Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance
For further information:
or to arrange an interview with an OUSA representative, please contact Brandon Sloan, Director of Communications.