Nearly two years after announcing it, the Province has said that hundreds of former youth in care are now benefiting from the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program.

When the program was announced, Premier Horgan announced the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program for students who are former youth in care at all 25 public post-secondary institutions in the province, as well as the Native Education College. In July 2018, the program was expanded to foundation and apprenticeship training programs at 10 union-based training providers. Previously, there was no provincial standard.

The program provides financial assistance to students who no longer receive care upon turning 19 years of age. As long as one is enrolled in post-secondary studies, the program is designed to provide assistance to those aged 19 to 26.

Since its launch in September 2017, the program has seen a 326 per cent increase.

At UNBC and CNC, a combined 32 students are benefitting from the program.

Chad Thompson, Vice President of Academics at CNC told MyPGNow that the program is a huge help for these students, who as a result are able to immerse themselves into the educational community without much financial worry.

806 students have benefited from the program, compared to 189 youth in 2016-17 under the initial voluntary program.

“With the tuition waiver program, and improved support for children aging out of care, we hoped that youth in care would get the message that we believe in them and want to see them succeed,” said Premier Horgan. “the results have been inspiring. These young people were ready for opportunity, they just needed a path to a better future.”

Also, the government improved the program by increasing the benefit amounts and eliminating breaks in coverage.

“In many cases, these young people have faced tremendous injustices and have shown tremendous resilience through their journey to graduate high school,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills, and Training. “I am so proud of all the students who have and will embrace this educational opportunity to write a new and positive chapter in their lives.”

An estimated 2,200 former youth in care aged 19 to 26 are in the public post-secondary system.