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British Columbia ditches tuition fees for former kids in care aged 19 to 26

British Columbia Premier John Horgan speaks outside Government House in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, June 29, 2017. British Columbia's NDP government is bringing back the province's human rights commission, which was scuttled by the previous Liberal regime in 2002 in favour of a complaint-driven tribunal.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
September 01, 2017 - 4:46 PM

NANAIMO, B.C. - Premier John Horgan says British Columbia has waived tuition at all 25 of its post-secondary institutions for former youth in care to give them a chance to succeed.

He told an audience of students and alumni at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo that the government as parent of foster kids has a responsibility to ensure they are helped on their path to education and a better future.

Youth who were in care for at least two years and who are between 19 and 26 are eligible for the program.

Horgan says more support will be announced for young people who were in care in a financial update to the provincial budget on Sept. 11.

George Davison, president of the Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC, supported the provincial government's approach.

He says with provincewide support, youth who were in care will be able to find new opportunities to improve their futures, adding that 80 per cent of future jobs in the province will require some kind of post-secondary training.

"The provincial government has streamlined what, until today, was a patchwork of different programs and initiatives that provided varying degrees of tuition support to former youth-in-care, and it has replaced that with a system that is straightforward: tuition-free post-secondary education," he said in a statement on Friday.

Previously, youth who had been in care had to find their own funding support.

In the 2015-16 school year, the federation says about 150 former youth-in-care enrolled in tuition-waiver programs at the 12 post-secondary institutions that offered some form of help.

A fourth-year child and youth care student at Vancouver Island University told the audience that many people in that situation are marginalized and expectations for them are low.

Eligible students who have already paid tuition for September enrolment will get their fees refunded.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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