Aboriginal Scholarships in Canada: An...

Aboriginal Scholarships in Canada: An Overview of Sources

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

Education can be expensive after high school. With tuition, books, and the cost of daily life, getting post-secondary training can be difficult to afford. Scholarships can help, and if you are Aboriginal, you can find special scholarships to help you get the education that you need for the future.

With scholarships, students might find that the cost of going to school is manageable. Over the past ten or twenty years, the cost of tuition has tripled in some areas of the country, according to Statistics Canada. Meanwhile, wages have not kept up and many people have had a hard time paying for their schooling.

Scholarships are available to help some students deal with the rising costs. Usually, scholarships are for people who have achieved something special, like getting high marks in a certain subject like chemistry or physics. Often, the students get the scholarships only if they go to a certain university or get into a certain field like medicine, although they might be able to transfer the money to a different department or university.

Besides the scholarships that are available to everyone, many post-secondary schools have scholarships especially for Aboriginal students. The government of Canada has an Indigenous Bursaries Search Tool, and both the Indspire and Transitions web pages have tools to search for funding in various areas. Some pages, like Aboriginal Learning Links, are for only one or two provinces or territories, but others give information for the whole country.

Suppose that you want to become a nurse or doctor. You could go to the Transitions page and look for a link to the First Nations Health Careers section to find a scholarship or bursary that fits your situation. If you prefer to work on environmental issues, you might want to check for funding from the Ontario Clean Water Agency or a similar organization in another province. Many other tools are available for finding funding in many different areas.

When you search for various sources of financial help, you might wonder about the difference between a scholarship and a bursary. Both of them are money for schooling, but they are somewhat different from each other. Usually, scholarships are for academic achievements and bursaries are for some other kind of accomplishment, such as being involved in charitable work. Scholarships can be a few thousand dollars and bursaries are normally much less, but they can both be helpful in paying for schooling.

Scholarships and bursaries are not just for universities. The Women Building Futures program, for example, encourages women to get into trades like electrician or welder, and other programs give funding to people who are entering any type of education or training. Applicants for the funding might have to write an essay or complete some other kind of task to be considered for the award, but the effort is worth it for the financial help, as well as for the experience that students gain through the process.

Unlike student loans, most scholarships and bursaries never need to be repaid, but they often have very specific requirements. If you are an Aboriginal student looking for financial help, be sure to do your research to find out what might be best for you.


Aboriginal Learning Links. “Scholarships/Bursaries.” http://aboriginallearning.ca/scholarshipsbursaries/.

Aboriginal Students. “Opportunities and Postings.” http://aboriginalstudents.ca/.

Indspire. “Building Brighter Futures: Bursaries, Scholarships, and Awards.”  http://indspire.ca/for-students/bursaries-scholarships/.

Transitions. “Scholarships.” http://www.oneca.com/transitions/scholarships.html.

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