Youth In Care Tuition Waiver Program

Submitted by Ian Gerbrandt on March 27, 2012 - 11:31pm

Youth in Care have the opportunity to pursue their dreams of a university education thanks to a new partnership between the University of Winnipeg, Province of Manitoba, and the four authorities for Child and Family Services.

On March 15, the University of Winnipeg launched the Youth In Care Tuition Waiver Program to ensure that youth who have grown up in care can plan and realize an academic future regardless of financial barriers. In addition to free university classes, the Province of Manitoba Authorities will cover all living expenses for youth on extensions of care, including housing, textbooks and meal plans. This opportunity is available to youth up to age 21 while attending The University of Winnipeg. The program is the first of its kind in Manitoba and believed to be unique for a University in Canada.

There are close to 9,500 children and youth in care in Manitoba. This represents 3% of Manitoba’s child population and is one of the highest rates in the industrialized world. Unfortunately, the typical educational outcomes for youth in care are not positive. The Manitoba Centre for Health Policy estimates that less than 5% of youth in care ever pursue a post-secondary education. This statistic should shock, but not surprise us. For some time, research has indicated that when youth in care turn 18 years of age- their "transition out" of the care system is anything but smooth. With few, if any, supports to help them, many end up on welfare or homeless. This pilot project will help selected youth transition to university life and bring them one step closer to fulfilling their potential.

For the upcoming school year, the Youth In Care Tuition Waiver program will support 10 students. The University hopes to expand this support, but also encourages other post-secondary institutions to follow suit. Although it is important to recognize that 10 youth represent a small piece of the larger challenge of supporting youth in care with their education (see this important op-ed from Marni Brownell with the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy), the project does send a significant message and offers hope. As Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor University of Winnipeg, commented during the announcement “Removing the tuition hurdle dissolves an important barrier, but more importantly, it says to this group of young people who have faced so many challenges that they are welcome here, you belong here, and your dreams matter”

All the Best

Ian Gerbrandt




We could all learn

Ian, thanks for sharing this great news.  What an opportunity for kids to take on!  It will be amazing to see the results of this pilot and I would hope that it would be shared across other universities and colleges so that kids who have grown up in care across the country could have this opportunity as well!