A new program starting this week at Vancouver Island University and Yukon College will be the first of its kind, and should help remove barriers for Indigenous students.
The program, expected to help around 800 students, offers enhanced support in the form of both financial aid and by putting an emphasis on Indigenous culture.
Financial aid can be used on anything from living expenses to books, and VIU employs elders at the same pay rate as professors.
The school is also kickstarting the “Community Cousins” program, which pays students to go into their communities to encourage others to pursue post secondary education.
Between contributions from the federal government, the Rideau Hall Foundation, the Mastercard Foundation and Indigenous communities, the total program value will be around $50 million.
Director of the Rideau Foundation Chris DaSilva says this will shift the needle on the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous postsecondary education rates.