Indspire graduation rates show value of funding post-secondary studies

(Ohsweken, ON – February 18, 2015) Ninety-three percent of Indigenous students who receive funding for their education earn a post-secondary credential, and 82% of those graduates find work, says a new report released today by Indspire, the largest funder of Indigenous education outside of the federal government.

“Our research has found that financial support is critical to Indigenous student success, in fact, it is the most significant barrier for Indigenous students in completing their post-secondary education,” said Roberta Jamieson, President and CEO of Indspire. “When Indigenous students receive financial support, they are completing their studies and securing meaningful work. Supporting the educational achievement of Indigenous people – the youngest and fastest growing population in Canada – is critical for Canada’s future economic prosperity.”

The report, Creating Positive Outcomes: Graduation and Employment Rates of Indspire’s Financial Award Recipients, is the first of its kind. Some key findings include:

  • 93% of students funded by Indspire graduated from a post-secondary program, and, of that percentage, 50% earned a university degree;
  • 82% of graduates funded by Indspire are employed;
  • 84% of employed graduates report that they are serving Indigenous people in their current role.

This report reinforces the effectiveness of financial aid in closing Canada’s education gap for Aboriginal students,” said Paul Davidson, President of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. “Along with culturally relevant curriculum, programs, and outreach, financial support is key to improving both access and success for Indigenous students in post-secondary education. AUCC is pleased to partner with Indspire and others who share a commitment to getting results.”

Indspire surveyed First Nation, Inuit, and Métis students who received funding from Indspire from 2000-2001 to 2012-2013. Cheryle Labelle is a mother of six who completed her Aboriginal Addiction Counselling Certificate at Bow Valley College in Calgary, with financial support from Indspire. “My children and I were living in a shelter: it was the toughest year of my life, but I decided to get the education I needed,” she said. “The bursaries I got from Indspire allowed me to study and not worry about piling up debt. My education will not only provide a stable life for my family but also allow me to help my community find the same healing opportunity I was given.”

indspire-bbf-headerThe success achieved by Indspire in helping to close the gap in Indigenous education is endorsed by corporate Canada and experts in Indigenous education:

“Programs like Building Brighter Futures are so important because they create opportunities,” said Lorraine Mitchelmore, President and Country Chair, Executive Vice President, Heavy Oil, Shell Canada Limited. “I am proud to share in Indspire’s success today and look forward to continuing our work together in creating even more opportunities for Indigenous youth.”

“Indspire’s success in easing the financial burden that many Indigenous students experience when pursing post-secondary education gives all Canadians a reason to celebrate,” said Rita Bouvier, MEd, author, researcher, and award-winning educator. “We are all the richer for these students’ accomplishments and their commitment to give back to their communities.”

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