By Tamsin McMahon - Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 0 Comments
Cambrian College is offering financial incentives to prospective students, starting in kindergarten
Bursaries and scholarships are great when students have already made up their minds to go to college or university. The challenge for Sudbury’s Cambrian College, which serves remote and rural populations in northern Ontario, is how to get students to consider going to college in the first place.
Three years ago, the school launched something called a learning account, aimed at the students least likely to attend college: Aboriginals, those with disabilities and those whose parents didn’t have a post-secondary education. The program offers students credits toward future tuition costs in exchange for attending a series of workshops. Students can earn $70 in “Cambrian Bucks” for attending a conference on coping with learning disabilities, $20 for a science workshop and $320 for a four-day program aimed at Aboriginal pupils. The college also gives $120 to parents who attend a two-day program to learn how to help set career goals for their children. So far, 410 students have signed up with an average of $250 in tuition credits, although they can earn as much as $3,000.
The tuition credits act like a bursary, but with a long-term goal of getting the kids to start working toward college while still in elementary school. “For most of these underrepresented populations, getting them to post-secondary is a long process,” says France Quirion, Cambrian’s associate vice-president of student services. “They don’t live and breathe post-secondary. It’s just a foreign concept. Continue…