May 5, 2021
For Immediate Release
Waterloo – Wilfrid Laurier University is reducing barriers to university education for individuals who are currently or were formerly in the foster care system through the creation of the Learners from Care Tuition Bursary program, which will ensure tuition fees are covered for up to 20 students in its first year.
As part of the pilot program, which begins in fall 2021, interested students can also be matched with a staff member from either the Dean of Students office or Teaching and Learning Services, who will support them throughout their degree and help them access resources, as needed, such as educational supports, academic advising and funding opportunities.
“We are thrilled to be joining the growing list of universities and colleges in Canada that are making post-secondary education more accessible for current and former youth in care,” said Mary Wilson, vice-provost of teaching and learning at Laurier. “People raised in care face many barriers to education. We want to do our part to make sure they have the opportunity to come to Laurier and succeed in their studies.”
Laurier developed the program in close consultation with the Child Welfare Political Action Committee, which has been advocating for tuition support programs in post-secondary institutions across the country. Thanks to their work, an additional 14 universities and colleges in Canada now offer financial assistance programs for students raised in care.
“Post-secondary studies gave me hope and a future after foster care,” said Jane Kovarikova, founder of the Child Welfare PAC, former Crown ward and current doctoral candidate at Western University. “I’m so proud of Wilfrid Laurier University for making it possible for current and former foster kids to achieve their goals.”
The Learners from Care Tuition Bursary program is accepting applications from current and incoming Laurier undergraduate students who are currently or were formerly in the foster care system for at least one year. The program is open to both mature students and those who’ve recently graduated high school. Priority will be given to incoming first-year students pursuing their first degree. The bursary will be renewable as long as students continue their studies at Laurier.
“Everyone deserves access to education,” said Ivan Joseph, vice-president of student affairs at Laurier. "We have a responsibility to reduce the financial barriers for learners in care, but also to ensure they feel welcomed and supported while they're here."
The bursary program is an extension of the many services Laurier already provides for former youth in care, including meetings with the Dean of Students offices and Teaching and Learning Services to provide support, guidance and connections with other on-campus resources.
Current and former youth in care can find out more about the Learners from Care Tuition Bursary, including eligibility requirements, on the bursary’s website.
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Lindsay Lawrence, Manager, Transition and Learning Services
Teaching and Learning, Wilfrid Laurier University
Andrea Dalimonte, Student Care Coordinator
Dean of Students Office (Brantford), Wilfrid Laurier University
Child Welfare PAC Canada
To arrange an interview with a Laurier alumna and former youth in care, please reach out to Claire Bruner-Prime, communications and media relations officer, at email@example.com.