Towards a Representative Post-Secondary Community: Increasing Access to Alberta Rural and Aboriginal Communities

September 10, 2012

On June 4th, 2012, Premier Alison Redford released her mandate letter to cabinet ministers. Among the ambitious goals presented in the letter to all Ministers, is closing the participation gap between underrepresented groups in post-secondary. One way of achieving this impressive goal is through a new bursary program, announced during the last provincial election, aimed at rural and aboriginal students. The project would start in 2013/14 with $18 million and would gradually increment to $25 million by 2021/22. The goal of this paper is to look at how to best utilize the money from this new bursary. Specifically the questions are: Who gets to access the bursary? How to deliver it? And what’s the best form and size of the award?

CAUS recommends:

  • Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education work with Alberta Education to better prepare students in K-12 for University and College admission, educational success, and work habits.

  • Applying for the new bursary becomes a part of the same application as student loans.

  • Limit the eligibility of the new bursary to rural students living in areas under 10,000 in population.

  • Allow North American Indian, Treaty/Registered/Status Indian, Non-Status Indian, Métis or Inuit, who self identify in student loans application, access to the bursary.

  • Allow students to be eligible for the bursary for up to four years of post- secondary education, in programs that are at least 2 years of length.

  • The size of the award should be $2,500 for rural students, and $4,000 for aboriginal students per academic year.

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