First Nations Bands may be able to sponsor eligible First Nations and Inuit students who are accepted into eligible post-secondary programs through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP) and the University College Entrance Preparation Program (UCEPP). PSSSP/UCEPP funding is administered by First Nation Bands (or communities) and is commonly referred to as “sponsorship.” Funding for PSSSP/UCEPP comes from Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), which develops annual guidelines for program administration. Many Bands receive requests for funding that exceed the amounts provided by ISC. Bands are required to develop some of their own local policies and processes to administer the funding, including priority selection criteria, rules for deferring applications and an appeal process.
Ask your Band for information about:
- eligibility for PSSSP and/or UCEPP Funding
- the Band’s application process, and
- a copy of their post-secondary policies and processes (may be referred to as Local Operating Guidelines)
The BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres provides financial assistance through the Post-Secondary Student Support Program to Northwest Territory or Nunavut Inuit students who have been residing in British Columbia for 12 consecutive months, British Columbia registered members who do not have Band membership or an affiliation with a Band (BC General List) and Status Indian students who are affiliated with a BC First Nation as indicated on Status Card but do not have Band membership.
Band Sponsorship Summary
Who is eligible?
Status First Nations students who have been resident in Canada for 12 months prior to the date of application.
Where do I apply?
If you are a registered member of a Band, you apply directly to your Band for sponsorship.
You may be able to apply to the British Columbia Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres for sponsorship if you are:
- Status First Nations, but are not a full Band member (i.e. you are an affiliated member), or
- A Northwest Territory or Nunavut Inuit student who has resided in the south for the past 12 months
Does my post-secondary institution qualify?
In order to be eligible for sponsorship, you must first be accepted into an approved post-secondary institution. According to the AANDC Guidelines, institutions eligible for approval are those that are:
- Able to grant degrees, diplomas or certificates, and
- Recognized by a province or territory (in Canada or abroad) or delivering programs in partnership with a recognized institution
AANDC maintains a list of designated institutions that is continually being updated. Contact your Band to access the latest list. You may also wish to review the Master List of Designated Educational Institutions, which includes all Canadian and international institutions where students are eligible for receive Canada Student Loans. These institutions are considered “recognized” by their respective province or territory.
Does my program of study qualify?
In order for your program of study to qualify, it must be:
- offered at an approved post-secondary institution;
- a minimum of one academic year, as determined by the post-secondary institution; and
- include Grade 12 completion as an entrance requirement.
Funding is only available for one program at each of the four “levels” of post-secondary, as defined by AANDC:
Level 1: Community college and CEGEP diploma or certificate programs;
Level 2: Undergraduate university programs (certificate, diploma, degree);
Level 3: Advanced or professional degree programs, or masters programs; and
Level 4: Doctoral programs.
You may be asked to submit documentation to your Band proving that your program qualifies.
Will I be funded?
Bands receive a limited amount of funding for PSSSP and UCEPP each year and there is a high demand for post-secondary funding. You may be approved for sponsorship or be put on a waitlist. In order to ensure your best chance for funding, contact your Band Education Coordinator well in advance of your application date, make sure your application is complete and submit it on time.
If I am funded, will all my costs be covered?
PSSSP/UCEPP funding is intended to provide support but unfortunately does not cover all expenses. For example, part-time students do not receive living allowances. Ask your Band what types of expenses are supported and whether a monthly living allowance is available. You may wish to seek additional funding to support your education and living expenses.