New Indigenous student bursary program at Hamilton’s McMaster University to reduce barriers

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Published March 21, 2024 at 7:44 pm

McMaster University

Indigenous students at McMaster University in Hamilton will be able to benefit from a new program to help them with tuition and cost of living expenses.

McMaster’s financial assistance program includes a new bursary to support Indigenous students with tuition fees and expenses like housing, food and transportation.

The program represents McMaster’s commitment to “fostering inclusivity and support” within its community, said Dean of Students Sean Van Koughnett.

“We recognize that Indigenous students face additional financial barriers to accessing and completing university,” he explained. “We wanted to create a program that would reduce the financial barriers that impede access and success. Some tuition waiver programs do not necessarily do that, because some of those students already receive tuition assistance through other means, and there are many other costs that go unaddressed.”

It is open to members of the Haudenosaunee and Mississauga nations, whose traditional territories are the lands on which McMaster University is situated. They are eligible to apply even if they live elsewhere in Canada or internationally.

Indigenous Student Services Director Chrissy Doolittle said a role within the department will be created to focus on supporting and advising students and on administering the bursary program.

“We developed a funding model in consultation with various campus and community partners that would be tailored to each student’s individual financial needs,” she said. “This will allow the available funding to support as many students as possible, even within university budget constraints.”

As an additional benefit, the Indigenous Financial Aid Specialist will be available to work with all Indigenous students by providing dedicated support and equitable access to financial resources and financial literacy programs.

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