NBCC recently announced their creation of a new bursary program which was created in an effort to eliminate tuition barriers for people who have spent a year or more in foster or group home care.

“Quality education and skills training are crucial to obtaining sustainable employment, yet the cost of education can be a barrier to those who most need it. Removing that barrier for former youth in care levels the playing field so those learners are not left behind,” said Ann Drennan, NBCC Vice President Academic and Research.

The Former Youth in Care Tuition Bursary will cover all tuition and program fees for ten students per annum with a maximum of $5 000 per student. However, if some of the students enroll part-time into programs, and are getting part-time tuition coverage, the college can take on more people. 

A person must be a resident of New Brunswick, have lived in the care of the New Brunswick Minister of Social Development for a minimum of twelve consecutive or cumulative months under the Family Services Act, and have been accepted to an NBCC program or course within a government funded offering at standard tuition rates, among other criteria, to be eligible to apply. However, there is no age limit.

“Very few people who are raised in foster care have the opportunity to pursue post-secondary studies immediately after they age out because life is quite hard, so the critical thing is that there is no age restriction,” founder of the Child Welfare Political Action Committee Jane Kovarikova said.

The college was approached by the Child Welfare Political Action Committee of Canada to participate in the program, which is currently offered at 18 post-secondary schools in Canada. There are only five post-secondary institutions participating in Atlantic Canada, with NBCC being the only one in New Brunswick. 

Kovarikova says she knows firsthand the barriers that people who grow up in foster care face having gone through it herself, which is why she’s so passionate about this initiative. A former high school dropout, Kovarikova is now a PhD candidate at Western University. Her NGO, The Child Welfare Political Action Committee, has helped create more than 150 tuition-free opportunities at 13 schools in five provinces. 

Application is ongoing for eligible students, and the bursary will take effect from September 2021. 

For more information, email firstgen@nbcc.ca or phone 1-888-796-NBCC (6222).