VIU Welcomes 38 Students to Youth in Care Tuition Waiver Program

Brittany Palmer, who grew up in Duncan and has been living independently since age 17, is entering the third year of VIU’s Bachelor of Arts in Criminology program this fall with support from the University’s Youth in Care Tuition Waiver program.

September 10, 2014 - 2:15pm

Thirty-eight students starting the new post-secondary school year at Vancouver Island University (VIU) in September will benefit from the institution’s Youth in Care Tuition Waiver program.

Heading into her third year of VIU’s Bachelor of Arts in Criminology program, Brittany Palmer said assistance from the Tuition Waiver has made it possible for her to complete her degree as she works toward her goal of graduating and working with at-risk youth.

“It’s a huge support, a huge help, and an eye-opener to see all the people at VIU and in the community who are willing to go above and beyond to help anyone who has been in this situation,” said Palmer, who is taking five courses this semester while working part-time and volunteering with the John Howard Society in Nanaimo.

VIU President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ralph Nilson welcomed students participating in the Tuition Waiver program at a casual breakfast August 28, joined by faculty, staff, VIU Students’ Union, and senior administrators who attended to offer their support to the student group.

“We’re so proud to be able to provide this opportunity to these deserving students,” Dr. Nilson said. “VIU’s faculty and staff are dedicated to providing the support and encouragement needed for these former youth in care as they pursue their educational journey.”

First launched in September 2013, VIU was the first post-secondary institution in BC to offer waived tuition for former youth in care with 16 students admitted to the program in the first year. Nilson adds that since the initiative is still new and evolving, students in the program should come forward with suggestions and ideas on how the program can further support them as they face challenges – financial and otherwise – while pursuing their first post-secondary credential.

Each student registered in VIU’s Youth in Care Tuition Waiver program also received a $500 award to start off the school term, to assist with non-tuition expenses. These funds were donated through the Vancouver Island University Foundation, which is responsible for raising funds and support for VIU, including the scholarship and awards program.

 “Many people in our community are extremely supportive of this institution, and excited about this program,” Dr. Nilson said. “As a result of their generosity we’re able to provide students in this program with additional financial support.”

Mary-Ellen Turpel-Lafond, BC’s Representative for Children and Youth, was one of the special guests in attendance at the August 2013 launch of VIU’s Tuition Waiver for Youth in Care program, and continues to offer her challenge to all BC post-secondary institutions to waive tuition for young people aging out of the care system.

“I am so delighted that VIU is pioneering the kind of programs required to make sure no child is left behind,” said Turpel-Lafond. “Former youth in care deserve to have the same aspirations and opportunities as their peers and to benefit from attending university and college. Now that VIU is joined by six others, I hope the remaining 18 post-secondary institutions in BC will follow this lead – part of the future we need to create for former youth in care.”

The 27 new students registered in VIU’s Youth in Care Tuition Waiver program join 11 returning students to begin the 2014-15 school year. The students, who come from Vancouver Island and elsewhere in BC, are registered in a wide range of VIU programs, including Fisheries and Aquaculture, Bachelor of Arts, Culinary, Tourism and Recreation, Child and Youth Care, Criminology, Bachelor of Business Administration and Automotive Technician.

VIU will waive these students’ tuition as they work to attain their post-secondary education. The University’s Advancement & Alumni Relations Office is also actively raising funds to provide additional financial support for these former youth-in-care for non-tuition expenses in the form of student awards. To help support these students pursue their dreams, please visit or call VIU’s Advancement and Alumni Relations Office at 250.740.6216.


Media Contact

Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P:250.740.6443  C: 250.618.1535 E: T: @viunews

Tags: In the Community

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