The 2021 federal budget pledged $150.6 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to support post-secondary funding commitments for Indigenous students. But this funding is less than what was allotted in prior federal budgets.
The Call to Action:
We call upon the federal government to provide adequate funding to end the backlog of First Nations students seeking a post-secondary education.
The 2021 federal budget pledged $150.6 million over two years, starting in 2021-22, to support Indigenous students through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program and the Inuit and Métis Nation Post-Secondary Education Strategies. But this funding is less than what was allotted in prior federal budgets.
Previously, the 2019 federal budget pledged $327.5 million over five years to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program while discussions happen with First Nations on long-term regional post-secondary education models.
The budget also pledged $362 million over 10 years for a Métis Nation-led post-secondary education strategy consisting of financial assistance for Métis Nation students, and $125.5 million over 10 years for an Inuit-led post-secondary education strategy.
But the total budget of $815 million was less per annum ($81.5 million) than the previous budget allocations for 2017 and 2018 of $90 million per year.
The budget also allotted another $9 million over three years to Indspire, starting in 2019–20, for additional bursaries and scholarships for First Nations, Inuit and Métis students.
In 2017, the federal government committed to increase funding for post-secondary student support.
But the funding increase was at least $10 million less than promised during the 2015 election campaign, where “$50 million in additional annual support to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program” was promised.
The 2017 federal budget also committed to $25 million over five years for post-secondary scholarships from Indspire (an Indigenous-led registered charity that helps Indigenous students access post-secondary educations and find jobs).
But in order for Indspire to access the federal funding, Indspire was required to raise an additional $3 million a year in funds from the private sector.