Lakehead University launches tuition waiver for youth in care

November 26, 2021 – Orillia, Ont.

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


Media: Jaclyn Bucik, Media, Communications & Marketing Associate, at 705-330-4010 ext. 2014 or

Lakehead University is a fully comprehensive university with approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and over 2,000 faculty and staff at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead has 10 faculties, including Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Law, Natural Resources Management, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Science & Environmental Studies, and Social Sciences & Humanities. Lakehead University’s achievements have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being ranked, once again, among Canada’s Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities in Maclean’s 2022University Rankings; as well as included in the top half of Times Higher Education's 2021 World Universities Rankings for the second consecutive year, and 99th among 1,115 universities from around the world in THE's 2021 Impact Rankings (which assesses institutions against the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals). Visit

Minister Jill Dunlop Dr. Moira McPherson Dr. Renee Ferguson and Dr. Dean Jobin-Bevans stand in front of a banner supporting youth in care