Tuition Assistance for Crown Wards, Children Leaving Care

Post-secondary Education

Post-secondary Education

Starting this September, the government will assist former Crown wards and youth in, or leaving, the care of Children’s Aid Societies to attend post-secondary schools.

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities says about 850 eligible students will have 50 per cent of their tuition costs covered by the province, for up to four years of study.

All Ontario universities, and a third of the province’s colleges, have partnered in the plan to provide a grant of $500 per month to help cover living costs for former Crown wards aged 21 to 24 who are enrolled in OSAP-eligible programs. The goal is to cover 100 per cent of tuition fees, up to a maximum of $6,000 per year, for former Crown wards and youth who are in and leaving care.

The Ministry says about 1,300 former Crown wards, and youth in and leaving care, attend Ontario’s colleges and universities, and receive funding from OSAP.

Children and Youth Services Minister, Teresa Piruzza, said in a press release that the program will “encourage more young people to acquire the skill sets required for them to succeed and reach their potential.”

4 comments

  1. That is exactly the same experience I had growing, as I stated earlier, I might as well have been. But then, again, water under the bridge and all that.

  2. Tracey Gauley · ·

    I agree with you Angela, whole-heartedly. Like yourself and Elizabeth, I did it all myself. Sadly though; when a child has been bounced from home to home, suffering sometimes awful conditions, (even surviving is an appropriate term), the child, then teen, grows up not knowing what to do or where to turn as there are no roots, no encouragement, no confidence-building, or even talk about University/College in the homes. There is no one to say to that teenager, “heh, I think you have a creative side to you”, or “you may have a gift for crunching numbers, you could be an accountant”, or “you have mechanical skills, you could be an engineer”. Often Crown wards never stay long enough in a home for the host family to learn about that child (or teen) in order to give them encouragement and guidance.

    Again I agree with you about doing things on your own, that takes moxy, strength, fortitude, I have met you, I know this about you and have great respect for you in numerous ways. I just wish to mention and shed light on the often frightening and unsure world that awaits Crown wards as they leave that last foster home, with very little confidence in themselves. These kids have seen and experienced things that no child or teenager should ever experience and out they are sent to figure out how to live, what to do.

    Elizabeth drove the point home in her comment above about not having the foundation of solid people or mentors, or even stability to instill feelings of worthiness. I am very happy to hear that there will be a bit of assistance for these young people in post-secondary education, it is one way that we the public can underwrite their futures, help them to be productive members of society, give them what they have never had – direction, care, worth.

  3. Not to be offensive or anything, but I paid for all of my OWN education and from the age of sixteen onwards, I lived on my own, paid my own bills and had to work. I had no help with my costs and though one of my parents had a program at her job that contributed to tuition fees of their children aspiring to go to college or university, she outright refused. The other one had the money to cover at least some of the costs, but chose not to assist. I spent two years fighting with OSAP instead until I was given eligibility for it because the Minister granted it. Now they want to give it to Crown wards. No, I was never a Crown ward but like many of us, I didn’t exactly have the support of a family in any way, shape or form after 16. I eventually got several degrees and went through college, and yes, my student loan is paid off in full and I did this myself.

    1. Angela, you are not alone. I also supported myself from a young age, including paying for post-secondary alone — and paying off OSAP alone.

      If I ever win one of those big huge lottery prizes, my plan is to establish a foundation for young people who have been “in care,” or wish they had been taken out of their family of origin, or whose family cannot or will not help. I would hire people like us, to set up the foundation and select candidates, coach them, encourage them, nag them when necessary.

      I’d buy homes for these students to live in, forming their own families, so they have somewhere to go for holidays, birthdays, school breaks and heartaches — somewhere where people care about them. Somewhere to come home to.

      And mentors, lots of mentors, not just academics, but compassionate folks who will listen and offer the kind of involvement they may never have had from an adult before. No 17 or 18 year-old can be expected to thrive in post-secondary if they have not had the foundation of people in their lives who believe they are important and worthy.

      This provincial funding is an important and symbolic step, but I believe more must be done. We can’t replace good parenting, but we can help young people become the people their birth parents told them — through neglect, abuse or ignorance — they never could be.

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