In a recent publication entitled “A Literature Review of Factors that Support Successful Transitions by Aboriginal People from K-12 to Postsecondary Education” (Statistics Canada, Council of Ministers of Education, 2010), the authors asserted that: “Educational attainment is even more important to the success and life opportunities of Aboriginal people than of non-Aboriginal people as a whole” (p. 64). This observation underscores the importance of a timely and targeted educational strategy set out with, by and for Metis people.
Métis Scholar Awards
Cost is often the largest obstacle for Métis individuals looking to further their education. Understanding this barrier, our earliest post-secondary endowments were created through financial transfers from RLI’s training division and housed under the MNA as the Labour Market Development Program. These past efforts have led to the establishment of Métis specific endowments at eleven post-secondary institutions in the province totalling over $14 million in value. As the interest earned on the principal value is disbursed annually as awards, these endowments are set up to support Métis students in perpetuity.
Métis Education Foundation Endowments
The Education division of RLI currently administers all post-secondary endowments created under the Métis Nation of Alberta and the Métis Education Foundation. Moving forward, RLI will create future endowments with direct transfers from RLI to Alberta post-secondary institutions.
The specific endowment criteria and award amounts vary from one institution to the next while the monetary range for these Métis Scholar Awards ranges from $1,500 to $20,000 depending on the institution and program of study. The endowment awards are intended to assist Métis students who would not typically qualify for funding under the RLI Training program.
RLI’s current framework of endowments goes beyond the financial support of Métis students. Nine post-secondary intuitions have also formalized partnerships with MNA-RLI through Memoranda of Understanding. Each of these post-secondary institutions and RLI have created joint partnership committees to ensure collaboration on programs and initiatives that enhance academic and employment outcomes for Métis people in Alberta.