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B.C. education tuition waiver now applies to all former youth in care

Minister says program is no longer capped at the student’s 27th birthday
Selina Robinson, B.C.’s minister of post-secondary education, joined by Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley, announces the expansion of the province’s tuition waiver program for former youths in care at a press conference Tuesday, March 14, at Vancouver Island University. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

British Columbia has expanded its tuition waiver program to include all former youth in government care enrolling in post-secondary education.

Selina Robinson, post-secondary education and future skills minister, says the program is no longer capped at the student’s 27th birthday.

She says the budget for the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program is $19.2 million over the next three years, providing former youth in care with free tuition at all 25 public post-secondary institutions, the Native Education College and approved union-based trades training providers.

B.C.’s Ombudsperson Jay Chalke released a report last week that called on the government to compensate a woman who left government care at 17 years old to live with her aunt, but was denied post-secondary funding and ended up enrolling in a program at her own cost.

Children’s Minister Mitzi Dean said in a statement her ministry would review the report, but did not offer to compensate the woman.

The post-secondary education ministry says in a statement about 2,300 students have accessed the tuition waiver program since its implementation in 2017, resulting in the waiving of $16.6 million in tuition fees.

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