Universities waive tuition for
former Crown wards
those who work with youth in the child
welfare system say these are some of the
most vulnerable people in Canadian society. Separated from their parents and placed
under the care of the government, they are
more likely as adults to end up homeless or
in jail. Many do not complete high school
and very few go on to pursue postsecondary
Tuition is one of many barriers they face.
However, an increasing number of universities in Canada –
including all of
Ontario’s universities – are now
waivers to students who were formerly under government care.
The first to do so was the University of
Winnipeg, which began offering a tuition
waiver for former youth in care in 2012.
Twenty-five students took up the offer last
academic year and 12 more this year, said Jennifer Rattray, U of Winnipeg’s associate vice-president of indigenous, government and
community affairs. “Universities have really
done a lot of work on access issues over the
past few years, and this is another important
step in helping as many people as possible
access postsecondary education,” she said.
By far the biggest expansion in tuition
aid for former Crown wards is in Ontario.
This past June, the provincial government
announced, in partnership with universities
and colleges, that these students can have
their tuition covered up to a maximum of
$6,000 a year for four years. As well, eligible
students will receive $500 monthly up to age
24 to help with living expenses; the monthly
support previously stopped at 21.
The province expected about 850 students to qualify for the assistance. Half of
the cost of the tuition waiver is covered by
the province, while the other half is funded
by the respective postsecondary institution.
Vancouver Island University also
launched a tuition waiver pilot project for
students formerly in foster care in September. It is the first university in B.C. to offer
such a program. The University of British
Columbia recently approved a similar fee
waiver, and the University of Victoria is considering implementing such a program.
VIU president Ralph Nilson said seven
eligible students signed up for the waiver this
fall. The VIU program is financed through a
combination of existing scholarship funds
and support from outside groups. “There’s
been fantastic support from donors” for the
program, said Dr. Nilson. – zane schwartz
Youth in care
Yes, bike helmets prevent injuries
a new study by researchers at the University
of Alberta’s school of public health concludes that the introduction of bicycle
helmet legislation in Alberta has led to a
decrease in head injuries across various age
groups. The study, published in the October
2013 issue of the Journal of Accident Analysis
and Prevention, examined Alberta Health
data on hospitalizations and emergency
department visits before and after legislation
was introduced in 2002 making helmet use
mandatory for those under 18.
The researchers found that, for child cyclists, the rate of hospitalizations and emergency department visits for head injuries
decreased by nine percent and 30 percent respectively. For adolescents and adults, the decrease in hospitalizations for head injuries
was 36 percent and 24 percent respectively.
The findings will likely prove controversial as they are contrary to the results of
other research – and to the views of helmet
legislation critics who suggest enforcing helmet use doesn’t reduce head injuries and discourages people from cycling. Such contentions are unproven, says Donald Voaklander,
one of the study authors and director of the
Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research. This latest research, he says, presents
definitive evidence that helmets remain an
important injury prevention strategy.
“This is another important
step in helping as many
people as possible access
Tweeted by Andrew Leach (@andrew_leach), an associate
professor in the Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta.
Anyone advancing conspiracy theories on
co-ordination among academics to skew
research results should be forced to attend
a faculty meeting.