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. 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.
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 with a BC band or are on the BC General List)
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 Indigenous Service Canada’s National 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
Employment and Social Development Canada 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:
- Delivered at an eligible post-secondary institution; and for which the completion of secondary school studies, or the equivalent as recognized by the post secondary institutions or the provincial or territorial ministry of education, is required.
You may wish to review Indigenous Service Canada BC Region Approved Definitions of the Grade 12 or Equivalent Entrance Requirement
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 for eligible post-secondary students to access and complete their post-secondary education. Different First Nations have different local operating guidelines which may impact your eligibility for funding and the costs that your community may cover. 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.