July 27, 2017 - 3:15pm
University staff host outreach event at Sanala, formerly King Arthur Court, to raise awareness about the Canada Learning Bond and VIU’s Tuition Waiver Program
Vancouver Island University (VIU) staff is raising awareness about two programs that make post-secondary education more accessible and affordable.
Ruby Barclay, VIU’s Peer Support Navigator for the Tuition Waiver Program, and Rolanda Murray, VIU’s Canada Learning Bond Coordinator, hosted an outreach event July 19 at Sanala, a housing complex in Nanaimo’s Harewood community, in partnership with the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre (NAC). The housing complex, formerly known as King Arthur Court, is moving in a positive direction thanks to the NAC, which took over management earlier this year.
The Canadian government offers families money to save for their child’s education, but many families are unaware of the opportunity to access funds. In addition to the Canada Learning Bond and other government grants, VIU offers the Tuition Waiver Program, which waives tuition for eligible students who spent time in the care system.
Chris Beaton, Executive Director of the NAC, said activities such as the VIU outreach event help build community, connections and trust. He said outreach activities need to be more than one-time events and VIU has continuously demonstrated its long-term commitment to community residents through partnerships. For example, VIU’s Centre of Community Outreach and Care launched a year-long project with Child and Youth Care students to address quality of life issues at the housing complex last summer.
While families enjoyed hotdogs, popcorn, bouncy castles and blowing bubbles in Sanala’s courtyard, Barclay and Murray discussed the two programs with residents and neighbours. Barclay said the outreach event was about engaging in dialogue.
“We had a great turnout with diverse ages and diverse lived experiences. I think we were able to really communicate the two main opportunities of the Tuition Waiver Program and the Canada Learning Bond,” said Barclay. “People did not really know about the Canada Learning Bond. I was surprised.”
Janine Thompson, who attended the event with her family and also works at NAC, said she signed her children up for the Canada Learning Bond two years ago. She became aware of the program while attending classes at VIU when she spotted a poster about it on the Nanaimo campus.
“I think it’s wonderful to start saving for education. It’s just money towards their education and their future. I believe education is the future,” she said.
Beaton said the tuition waiver program is an “amazing chance” for people to access education.
“The Tuition Waiver Program is just another way we can say to former kids in care, youth in care, we are here to continue to support you. It’s no longer that you age out of the system when you’re 19 and then you’re on your own. We are here to continue to work with you and support you to be successful in whatever way you define that,” said Beaton. “The Tuition Waiver Program is just one more option for those young people to move forward in their lives. So it’s exciting that the university is offering it. They are leading the way. Vancouver Island University is providing that opportunity to our youth.”
The Canada Learning Bond is available for children born in 2004 or later, for families that receive the National Child Benefit Supplement. When families first set-up the Registered Education Savings Plan for their child the government will deposit $500 and then $100 each following year until the child turns 15.
The VIU Tuition Waiver Program is for eligible students who have grown up in the care system. There is no age restriction for applicants. Vancouver Island University was the first university in BC to offer the Tuition Waiver Program.
Rachel Stern, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University
Tags: In the Community