Media Release: Opening Doors for Aboriginal Students
Canada’s universities recently launched a new online tool to provide Aboriginal students with better access to information on programs and services on campuses across Canada. The comprehensive, searchable database of resources designed to meet the needs of Aboriginal students was developed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada.
Prospective students and their families can use the tool to find information on the 286 different academic programs designed for Aboriginal students and other helpful resources available at Canadian universities, such as financial assistance, housing, cultural activities, counselling, availability of Elders, gathering spaces and mentoring.
Aboriginal youth are one of the fastest growing segments of the Canadian population. There are more than 560,000 Aboriginals under the age of 25 across Canada, yet the university completion rate for the Aboriginal population overall is eight percent — a third of the national average.
“The education gap in this country is large and growing. This needs to change,” said AUCC President Paul Davidson. “Canada’s universities recognize this and have significantly boosted the culturally relevant curricula, support programs and financial aid available to Aboriginal students. With this database, it’s easier than ever to locate and access these services.”
This new online resource is part of universities’ ongoing efforts to improve access to university for Aboriginal students and help them achieve success in higher education. Fifty-five institutions now have gathering spaces for Aboriginal students, and more than 60 organize social and cultural activities. In addition to supports on campus, many universities have successful outreach programs in Aboriginal communities, providing educational support and mentoring opportunities to students starting as early as the elementary level.
“I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the AUCC for creating an online directory to assist students in finding and accessing the programs and services that are reflective of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit languages and cultures, as well as those resources that will assist them in the achievement of their university goals,” said Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Canada.
The web-based directory is an enhanced update of a print version that AUCC produced in 2006 and 2010. It will be regularly updated to reflect new and enhanced services for Aboriginal students at Canada’s universities. The database complements information in the Directory of Canadian Universities, published every year by AUCC.
Aboriginal education is an ongoing priority for Canada’s universities. AUCC’s 2013 pre-budget submission to the federal government calls for increased postsecondary scholarships for Aboriginal students, with funding to be matched by the private sector. AUCC has also undertaken significant steps in recent years to help universities identify, develop and share ideas on best practices for services aimed at Aboriginal youth.
The new directory of programs and services for Aboriginal students can be found here: www.aucc.ca/Aboriginal-directory.
AUCC is the national voice of Canada’s universities, representing 95 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities.