More than 600 Indigenous students in British Columbia will share more than $2.2 million in awards from the Irving K. Barber BC Scholarship Society in support of their studies at public post-secondary institutions throughout the province. Of those, 383 of the recipients are receiving Indigenous Student Awards for the first time this year while 274 have renewed their Awards as they continue their studies. Cowichan Valley students are some of the lucky recipients.
Among them, in undergraduate programs are Garrett Beadle of Chemainus who is attending the University of Victoria; Julie Ough of Cobble Hill attending UVic; Lauren Cebula of Crofton attending Vancouver Island University; Christopher Alphonse and Martina Joe of Duncan attending Simon Fraser University; Cody Swain of Duncan attending University of British Columbia; and Tegan Deveau of Mill Bay attending UVic. In Masters or Doctoral programs are Evangeline Guerin on Duncan at SFU and Eyvette Elliott at UBC. In Teacher Education is Megan Supernault of Chemainus attending UVic.
The Society’s Indigenous Awards program is funded from the returns on an endowment fund established by the Province of British Columbia and ongoing supplementary funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training. It was created to assist in removing barriers to higher education for Indigenous peoples. Renewable Awards of $1,000 to $5,000 each are issued every year through a competitive process to students studying at all post-secondary levels.
“We know this awards program makes a real difference in shaping the futures of Indigenous students,” said Anne Kang, minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “Every year, these funds help break down barriers for Indigenous students enabling recipients to become active participants in classrooms, in communities and eventually in B.C.’s economy by putting their knowledge and skills to good use.”
The Indigenous population in British Columbia is growing at more than triple the rate of the non-Indigenous population, with nearly 45 per cent under the age of 25.
“The Society’s Indigenous Awards Program enables and encourages students to pursue their chosen fields of study with a sense of financial security. The fact that the awards are renewable ensures that students are supported on an ongoing basis as they complete multi-year programs,” said Shirley Kamerling Roberts, the Society’s board chair.
The Irving K Barber BC Scholarship Society provides scholarships and awards to students attending public post-secondary institutions throughout the province and internationally. Since its inception, nearly $23 million has been distributed to B.C. students from its six scholarship and award programs. The Victoria Foundation provides administrative support to the Society.