Several post-secondary institutions provide resources and supports for Indigenous students, including financial assistance.
Visit your institution’s website to learn more about what supports may be available.
Indigenous adult learning providers
Indigenous adult learning providers offer culturally informed adult and post-secondary learning opportunities in an Indigenous context.
Student loans and grants
A variety of financial supports are available to Indigenous learners. When you apply for Alberta student loans, you’re also automatically considered for provincial and federal grants. You’re only able to access many of these grants if you apply for Alberta student aid.
If you’re a Band member of a First Nation, you may be eligible for federal funding, administered through your Band office, to help you pay for your education. Here’s how to get started:
- find out how Band student support funding works
- use this interactive map to find and contact your Band office
- read about this Learning Clicks Ambassador’s experience with Band scholarships
Scholarships and bursaries
Scholarships and bursaries can help reduce the overall cost of your education. Your post-secondary institution may also offer scholarships. Talk to their financial aid office for details.
Alberta Student Aid lists several scholarships, bursaries and awards for Indigenous students in Alberta.
Other opportunities include:
- Advancing Futures Bursary Program: helps youth aged 18-24 who have been or continue to be in the care or custody of Children and Youth Services.
- Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training Board Family of Scholarships includes:
- 14 scholarships specifically available for Indigenous apprentices
- one scholarship specifically for an Indigenous female apprentice
- one scholarship specifically for either an Indigenous or female apprentice
- one scholarship specifically for Indigenous students in pre-apprenticeship programs
- Alberta Blue Cross: students who have demonstrated community involvement, achievement of their personal goals, and financial need may apply for a scholarship worth up to $1500. There are awards available for students entering post-secondary from high school, as well as for mature post-secondary students.
- Alberta Graduate Excellence Scholarship: maintains designated funding for Indigenous students, providing up to $15,000 annually for graduate students.
- First Nations Training to Employment Program (FNTEP): supports the development of partnerships to create training and work experience projects that lead to employment for First Nations members.
- Indigenous bursaries search tool: a searchable list of more than 680 bursaries, scholarships and incentives across Canada.
- Indspire: the largest non-governmental funding body for First Nations, Inuit and Métis post-secondary students across Canada.
- Scholarships Canada a database of scholarship and bursary opportunities across the country.
- Windspeaker and Aboriginal Multi-Media Society (AMMSA) Scholarship Guide: an extensive list of scholarships and bursaries available to Indigenous students.
What you need to apply
When you apply for a scholarship or bursary, you may be asked to provide:
- proof of ancestry
- proof of dependents (if you have any)
- introduction letter explaining who you are and what you are studying
- supporting documents, such as:
- recent transcripts
- letters of support from community leaders and elders
- photos of any awards you’ve won
On campus supports
Most institutions that receive government funding provide supports you can access on campus:
- all Indigenous adult learning providers
- other publicly funded post-secondary institutions
If you’re attending a different type of institution, please contact them directly to find out what types of supports they may provide.
You can also read about this Learning Clicks Ambassador’s experience as an Indigenous student, and the supports he received that helped him succeed in post-secondary.
If your adult learning provider does not provide supports specific to Indigenous students, your municipality might be able to help you find community resources. Examples include:
Check with your town or city hall office for more information. You could also visit your municipality’s website and type “Indigenous” in their website search tool.
Transition supports can help if you:
- don’t meet admission requirements for your program of choice
- need help adjusting to post-secondary life
- benefit from supports that apply a cultural focus to your learning
Ask the post-secondary institutions offering programs you’re interested in if they offer transition supports.
Your institution’s staff can help you build a learner pathway that guides you through where your learning is at now, to post-secondary study. You can also explore pathway options through Transfer Alberta.
Other transition supports can help you prepare for and adjust to campus life. For example, your post-secondary institution may offer a campus tour to help you:
- find your way around campus
- learn about support services and how to find them
- meet other Indigenous students
- talk to faculty or staff
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