More funding needed for Indigenous post-secondary students

Posted on September 20th, 2018

A new survey has found that a number of barriers hinder the ability of Indigenous students in Canada to complete post-secondary education.

A summary of the survey was released today by Indspire, in advance of a Wednesday meeting in Ottawa co-hosted by Indspire and Universities Canada calling for greater investment in Indigenous student success.

President and CEO Roberta Jamieson observed that some of what Indigenous students said was hard to hear. “We are making gains, that is clear. But Indigenous students need us to join hands with others, show them we can together meet their needs and ensure reconciliation is a vital part of their post-secondary spaces.”

The national charity asked recipients of Indspire scholarships and bursaries about their experiences of post-secondary education, and whether they reflected the Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Indigenous students reported that:

  • their financial needs were not met, as they required funding to help with housing, food, childcare, and travel from remote communities. This was the most significant barrier;
  • where Indigenous student services existed on campus, students felt validated and supported but noted staff were often overtaxed and the services underfunded;
  • programs needed more Indigenous content, especially in social work, nursing, medicine and law;
  • there were too few Indigenous professors, instructors and staff, depriving Indigenous students of needed mentors and role models. Many said there needed to be mandatory training in Indigenous history for all employees and instructional staff.

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