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Increasing access to education for former youth in care

Former youth in care attending a post-secondary institution on a tuition waiver can now access additional funding for living expenses so they can better focus on their academic careers.

Buying books, groceries and paying bills for expenses, such as rent and child care, can be made easier for students with access to $250,000 in provincial government funding through the Youth Futures Education Fund at the Vancouver Foundation.

The announcement was made at an event with Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training; Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development; Andrew Petter, president, Simon Fraser University (SFU); and Mallory Wood, Vancouver Island University youth representative.

“Former youth in care pursuing their educational dreams don’t always have resources to turn to for covering expenses,” said Mark. “Hope and optimism for the future will come from the Youth Futures Education Fund, removing barriers for students, as they become the change makers and leaders we know they can be.”

The Youth Futures Education Fund is guided by an advisory committee of 15 members and distributed by the Vancouver Foundation. It was established to provide a grant to recipients of the former youth in care Provincial Tuition Waiver Program.

The Youth Futures Education Fund was founded by Coast Capital Savings and the Ministry of Children and Family Development. The fund is governed by an advisory committee comprised of post-secondary institutions, government partners and philanthropy groups. It is funded by Coast Capital Savings, United Way of the Lower Mainland, Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills, and Training, and the Vancouver Foundation.

The Youth Futures Education Fund has been in place since 2015 and has helped over 600 students.

In September 2017, Premier John Horgan announced the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program for students who are former youth in care at all 25 public post-secondary institutions and the Native Education College. In July 2018, the program was expanded to foundation and apprenticeship training programs at 10 union-based training providers. Previously, there was no provincial standard.

More than 806 former youth in care have benefited from the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program compared to 189 youth in 2016-17 under the initial voluntary program — an increase of 326%.

Quotes:

Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development —

“Many parents tuck some money into a bank account or investments as their kids are growing up to help them on the road to independence when they turn 19. That’s exactly what we’re doing for youth in care, because we want them to succeed in school and in life. It’s why we invest in funds like this, which cover those costs beyond tuition that can be such a challenge for any young student. It’s one more way we’re there for former kids in care so they can focus on their studies and, ultimately, build a brighter future.”

Jennifer Davenport, chair, Youth Futures Education Fund Advisory Committee —

“We are pleased to see a continued commitment to the Youth Futures Education Fund from government. When students access these funds, they are getting the helping hand they need to allow them to focus on their studies and reach their full potential.”

Maureen Young, director, community leadership, Coast Capital Savings —

“Thank you to the provincial government and to the businesses, philanthropic organizations and individual donors who have helped build the Youth Futures Education Fund. We look forward to continuing to grow the fund to support these young people with basic living expenses, so they can focus on pursuing their dream of an education. By working together, we can all be part of a solution that gives former youth in care the opportunity to succeed and empowers them to fully contribute to their communities.”

Andrew Petter, president and vice-chancellor, SFU —

“The Youth Futures Education Fund is wonderful news for young people who previously might not have imagined that they could participate in post-secondary education. In the last two years, 25 former youth in care have enrolled at SFU, and we look forward to those numbers continuing to rise. We’re proud to provide these and other students an engaging learning environment that enables them to gain knowledge, skills and experiences with lifelong value.” 

Verukah Poirier, University of British Columbia Indigenous studies student —

“As a former youth in care, the Youth Futures Education Fund has allowed me to prioritize my learning during my post-secondary journey. I’m very grateful for this support as it, along with UBC’s Post Care Tuition Waiver Program, has lifted the burden of financial stress and allowed me to focus on building a solid foundation for my future.”

Mallory Woods, Vancouver Island University (VIU) youth representative —

“When you don’t have a support system to back you up, it’s tough to purse a post-secondary education, so the additional funding is a huge help. I’m so proud to be the student representative at VIU because it gives me a chance to work with young people who can discover their passion and become their true, authentic self by achieving an education.”

Quick Facts:

  • Over the past four years, the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training has committed $750,000 to the Youth Futures Education Fund, including the $250,000 in this announcement and the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s one-time investment of $250,000. In total, government has provided $1 million.
  • The Provincial Tuition Waiver Program covers a wide range of studies. There is no income test to be eligible, no minimum course duration, course load or maximum tuition fee coverage.

Learn More:

Provincial Tuition Waiver Program: https://gov.bc.ca/tuitionwaiver

Vancouver Foundation: https://www.vancouverfoundation.ca/youthfutures

StudentAid BC: https://studentaidbc.ca/explore/grants-scholarships/youth-futures-education-fund

Youth Futures Education Fund: https://youthfutures.ca/

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