For most students, not having enough money to pay for school is one of their worst fears. For more and more indigenous students, that fear is becoming a reality.
That's why University Students' Council has been lobbying the federal government to fulfill a 2015 election promise that would see $50 million added each year to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP).
"The problem with the fund is there is a cap on it that was put in place so it can only raise by two per cent per year," USC vice-president Jamie Cleary said. He explained that some post-secondary institutions' rate of inflation is higher, which has caused strain on the PSSSP.
"Year over year, what happens is there’s less money to the students accessing the pool. So it’s creating a problem for indigenous students accessing post-secondary education,” Cleary said.
According to CBC News, the cap put in places in the 1990s has had a clear effect on indigenous students seeking post-secondary opportunities. The number of indigenous students receiving financial assistance has declined 18.3 per cent since 1997.
A variety of student groups, including ADVOCAN, a federal post-secondary lobbying group the USC is a part of, have sought to change this by trying to hold the government to their campaign promise.
"We’re excited to see it move forward and we’ve heard promising things from the budget. That hopefully the campaign promise will be followed through as well,” Cleary remarked.
The next federal budget is expected for March 2017.