#ON; #IndigenousLearners; #OSAP; #PostSecondaryInstitutes
Ottawa/Canada: The Ontario government's expansion of the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) for eligible programs at Indigenous Institutes starting in the 2020-21 academic year was announced on Jan 22 by Greg Rickford, Ontario's Minister of Indigenous Affairs on behalf of Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities.
Centre for Indigenous students. Image credit: Facebook page
"For the first time in Ontario's history, students will be able to access culturally supportive, OSAP eligible programs that are independently delivered at Indigenous Institutes," said Minister Rickford in a news release. "Indigenous Institutes are an integral part of Ontario's postsecondary education system and this financial assistance will help Indigenous learners get the skills they need to succeed."
Indigenous learners could have access to a culturally responsive and high-quality postsecondary education, through this financial assistance, that will prepare them to meet local labor market needs.
Previously, OSAP was only accessible to students attending Indigenous Institutes if the program was delivered in partnership with an Ontario college or university.
Beginning this year, Ontario's approval of Indigenous Institutes for OSAP would not only allow eligible students to apply for assistance, it would also encourage Indigenous Institutes to start offering their own independently delivered, quality-assured OSAP eligible programs with approval from the Indigenous Advanced Education and Skills Council.
Ross Romano, Minister of Colleges and Universities said that this would bridge the attainment gap in postsecondary education between Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners and added,
"There is widespread agreement by Indigenous leaders, communities and education professionals that investing in culturally responsive postsecondary education opportunities for Indigenous learners will have tremendous benefits and reduce this gap."
Appreciating the Government of Ontario's ongoing collaboration and support for Indigenous postsecondary Institutes, Suzanne Brant, President of First Nations Technical Institute said,
"It is a demonstration of the Government's commitment to Indigenous students achieving their full potential in Ontario."