Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

University of Winnipeg Reaches out to Underprivileged Youth with Free Tuition

University of WinnipegThe University of Winnipeg is offering free tuition, to break down the barriers between education and underprivileged youth in Manitoba.

“Removing the tuition hurdle dissolves an important barrier, but more importantly, it says to this group of young people who have faced so many challenges that their dreams matter, that they are welcome and they belong here,” said UWinnipeg President Lloyd Axworthy.

The Youth In Care Tuition Waiver program is being heralded as a first of its kind in Canada, and the university is offering free tuition to students who’ve recently been in the care of a child welfare agency.

“We have a very deep commitment to addressing the needs of youth who are underrepresented in university classrooms, and we know that children and youth in care face multiple barriers that keep them from pursuing post-secondary learning, including financial hurdles,” said Axworthy.

The program will help people like Shirley Delorme Russell who was place in roster care, along with her four siblings. She changed homes three times and stopped going to school after graduating from Kelvin High School.

“I had no money. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, but I was not really sure what student loans were and the thought of them and getting into debt terrified me,” said Russell.

“It is awkward for a child in care because you can feel you are not really anyone’s kid. So at 18 I went out to work.”

The university hopes to help 10 students each year with the program, beginning next September.

Ryan Leclaire
Author: Ryan Leclaire
Ryan has been writing for 7 years and has been featured in Chatelaine, Canadian Living and Cottage life.
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