UWinnipeg’s Unique Tuition Credit Program Helps Close Graduation Gap

Feb 9, 2011 | Corporate Member News

“Earn As You Learn” Student Heads To University

A refugee from Sudan, 18-year-old Given Isaac, has earned a total of $1,700 to put towards his first year at The University of Winnipeg, becoming the first high-school graduate to cash in on the unique tuition credit program since it was launched by Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg in 2008. 

UWinnipeg’s Opportunity Fund provides tuition credit accounts to First Nations, Métis and Inuit students, new Canadians and refugees, and students from inner-city neighbourhoods in Grades 4 to 12. The ‘earn as you learn’ approach rewards students for each year of school they successfully complete, and for participating in extra-curricular activities. Students from Grades 9 through 12 can earn up to $750 for each school year completed. Students from Grades 4 to 8 can earn up to $200 per year. So far, 120 youth are enrolled in the tuition credit program and up to eight more students like Given could be attending UWinnipeg and cashing in their credits this coming September. 

Given’s hard work during his Grade 11 and 12 high-school studies, and his dedication to the Junior Wesmen basketball team, has earned him a total of $1,700 tuition credits. He is using the credits for tuition, books, lab, and registration fees. Any remaining unused tuition credits in his first year of studies may be carried over into the following academic years. 

Given Isaac

“It has taken a big load off my back and my family’s as well,” said Given, who has four siblings. “It has a big impact because I can focus more on school and basketball now.” 

Given not only plays with the Junior Wesmen, he also coaches and occasionally referees. He is a graduate of the Model School, a program of UWinnipeg’s Collegiate. Approximately 25 high-school students attend and receive individualized learning plans so they can reach their full potential. 

Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg

“One of the most critical challenges we face as a community is the gap that exists between young people who are able to obtain a post-secondary education and those, who through no fault of their own, are not,” said Axworthy. “Our Opportunity Fund takes the concept of accessible education and puts it into action. We are helping youth dream big, and students like Given are showing us that they are up to the challenge.”

Given is taking several introductory University courses in conflict resolution, international development, and psychology to see what field he likes best. 

The Opportunity Fund, unique in Canada, also helps students in need by providing fast-track bursaries. Since 2008, UWinnipeg has been able to offer 653 students fast-track bursaries thanks to generous donations. UWinnipeg’s second annual I HEART UWINNIPEG fundraising dinner will be held on Tuesday, April 12, 2011 at Canad Inns Polo Park to support the Opportunity Fund.  Contact 204.415.2472, [email protected] for information. 

The goal is to create a $10-million endowment fund to ensure that everyone, regardless of background and socio-economic status, has access to higher education. Find out more about UWinnipeg’s Community Learning initiatives at: http://www.uwinnipeg.ca/index/community.

UWinnipeg is consistently ranked in the Top-10 in the country on an annual basis by both Maclean’s Magazine and The Globe & Mail newspaper. The University of Winnipeg is a leader in academic excellence, Indigenous education, environmental studies, business, and theatre & the arts. Find out more by visiting http://www.uwinnipeg.ca/. Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/uwinnipeg and on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/University-of-Winnipeg-youofwcom-Where-You-Matter-Most/40526795732 


Diane Poulin, Communications Officer, The University of Winnipeg
P: 204.988.7135, E: [email protected] 

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