Lakehead University launches tuition waiver for youth in care

Lakehead University has introduced a new tuition waiver that will reduce barriers to  postsecondary education for individuals in the foster care system.  

Announced today in collaboration with the Child Welfare Political Action Committee  (Child Welfare PAC), the Youth in Care Tuition Waiver will support the full cost of  tuition and affiliated program fees for current and former youth in care working toward  an undergraduate degree at Lakehead University.  

Starting in September 2022, the Youth in Care Tuition Waiver will be available to  students of any age pursuing their first postsecondary credential at Lakehead  University. In its first year the program will support two full-time students – one at the  Thunder Bay campus and one at the Orillia campus – gradually increasing to a  maximum of eight students annually. The program will accept applications from current  and incoming high-school graduates and mature students who are currently or were  formerly in the foster care system in Simcoe County or Northwestern Ontario for at least  one year. The bursary will be renewable for up to four years. 

“Youth who have experienced the child welfare system are uniquely vulnerable and  require specifically tailored support mechanisms to realize success within structures of  higher learning,” said Child Welfare PAC Canada President Ingrid Palmer. “By adopting  a relevant and responsive pathway to accessible postsecondary education, Lakehead  University will also nurture upward social and economic mobility for those who have  already endured undue hardship. Thank you, Lakehead, for opening up equitable access  to postsecondary education in the North!” 

“All Ontarians deserve access to a postsecondary education experience and a higher  education system that embraces accessibility and inclusivity and promotes success,” said  Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “This is a key government priority  because we know learners need the opportunity to get the training required for good  jobs and because diverse representation in education and the workplace is integral to  building a stronger and more innovative province and economy.”

Ensuring that students have the opportunity to access education regardless of their  circumstance is one of the reasons why the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario  has referred to Lakehead University as an equity of access powerhouse, explained Dr.  Moira McPherson, President and Vice-Chancellor of Lakehead University. 

“The launch of Lakehead’s Youth in Care Tuition Waiver is in keeping with our strategic  priorities to provide access to a transformative university experience grounded in  exceptional scholarship and student potential,” she said.  

It also aligns with the University’s commitment to serving and removing barriers to  education for underrepresented students in Simcoe County and Northwestern Ontario.  In addition to the tuition waiver, Lakehead University also offers the Gateway Program  and Indigenous Transition Year Program to help students from underrepresented  groups and students who don’t meet traditional admission requirements access a  university-level education.  

“We want our students to succeed and feel supported during their time at Lakehead,”  explained Andrea Tarsitano, Vice-Provost (Students) and Registrar. “This tuition waiver  is just an extension of the wraparound supports and individualized services that  Lakehead already provides to our students to help them navigate the transition to  university and support them throughout their education.” More information on the Youth in Care Tuition Waiver can be found at