U of S fully funds students from child welfare system

Beginning this September, the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) will offer a new, uniquely comprehensive fund to encourage youth who were in care of the province's child welfare system to continue their education.

While many universities across Canada offer incentives to students leaving the child welfare system, the U of S will provide one of the most comprehensive university-sponsored funds in Canada, according to Patti McDougall, vice-provost of teaching and learning at the U of S.

"We work hard to attract the best and brightest around the world, but the best and brightest in government care here at home are not finding their way to post-secondary institutions," said McDougall. "The community and security offered by living in residence, having a meal plan and being part of a peer mentorship program will set these students up for success."

The university's Saskatchewan Youth From Care Bursary will pay for up to five years' of tuition, student fees, required books, accommodation, meal plans, and a stipend for personal costs, as well as a laptop and software to help recipients complete their first undergraduate degree. The university has allocated $100,000 annually from its operating budget, which will provide support for up to five students per year, said McDougall.

Past University of Saskatchewan Students' Union (USSU) President Max FineDay was a driving force behind the initiative, according to McDougall, and the current USSU executive continues to support the bursary program.

"The youth from care initiative is a powerful commitment by the University of Saskatchewan," said Jack Saddleback, current USSU president. "Helping to ensure post-secondary education is an option for all people in Saskatchewan builds a stronger university and a stronger province."

The provincial government provides assistance and support for education for youth in care up to the age of 21, depending on the circumstance. McDougall said the new funding provided by the university will kick in after government support ends.

"I am delighted that the U of S is providing this wonderful opportunity to youth who are leaving our care," said Minister of Social Services Donna Harpauer. "These bursaries will help young people build strong foundations for their future through a solid education."

Stephanie Bustamante, executive director of the Saskatchewan Youth in Care and Custody Network, said this is a "momentous occasion and a great first step to lead the way in building stronger supports for young people in and from government care in Saskatchewan."

More information about the bursary can be found online or email awards@usask.ca.

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Media contact:

Meghan Sired Communications Co-ordinator
University of Saskatchewan
306-966-6068 (office)
306-381-7992 (cell)

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