$13.5-million boost for Indigenous students at VIU

Vancouver Island University is increasing learning opportunities for Indigenous students by providing $13.5 million in new funding.

Initiatives include extra supports such as “education navigators,” who work on campuses and communities to help youth access post-secondary education.

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Funding will also go toward doubling the number of students who are supported through partnerships with First Nation communities.

“For me as an elder, this is an exciting partnership,” said Xulsimalt-Gary Manson, an elder-in-residence at VIU and member of the Snuneymuxw First Nation.

“We have people that are doing well, but many are not. With this learning partnership, we are providing additional support to reach deeper into the communities to young people we don’t usually see, but who need someone to believe in them.”

Anthropology student Catherine Joe said an education navigator told her she could help Joe get funding to finish two degrees in arts and education.

“I almost started crying. Without the support of this initiative, I wouldn’t be able to meet my original end goal, which was to work with and inspire our children and our youth as they are our future,” Joe said

VIU and Yukon College contributed to the design and development of the learning partnership, which has a total value of $50 million.

The Rideau Hall Foundation and Mastercard Foundation provided the new funding for the project, which builds on existing in-kind financial contributions from government, the private sector, Indigenous communities and VIU and Yukon College.

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