Education grant helps non-traditional students get a university education at Wilfrid Laurier
WLU collaborates with The Working Centre on the project
Thirty non-traditional students – including new Canadians, Indigenous people, people with disabilities and older unemployed workers – will have an opportunity to go to Wilfrid Laurier University thanks to a $400,000 grant from the Lyle Hallman Foundation of Waterloo Region.
The program, which is a collaboration with The Working Centre in downtown Kitchener was based on a successful pilot project funded by Laurier's Faculty of Arts.
Non-traditional students generally have different needs than students who have just completed high school, explained Bob Sharpe, associate professor in Geography and Environmental Studies at WLU, who also teaches the introductory course to community engagement.
"They've been marginalized in some respect because they don't have the income, [their first] language is not English, [they're] recent refugees or they just never came from families who encouraged their kids to go to University," said Sharpe.
First cohort will start in September
The Working Centre will identify two cohorts of 15 who will go through a specially designed two-year program to ease the transition into full-time learning.
The first 15 students will begin a preparatory period this September at The Working Centre, explained Sharpe.
Then in the winter semester, they will begin their part-time studies with a university-level course at The Working Centre, taught by a WLU faculty member, and a second course in the spring at the Laurier campus. Once students have completed those two introductory courses, they can take three other courses at Laurier.
Then at the end of the two-year specialized program, the once non-traditional students can continue their studies at Laurier or some other post-secondary institution, and continue working towards a bachelor's degree.
Interested applicants are encouraged to contact The Working Centre, or Wilfrid Laurier University this summer.