Indigenous scholars program starts

Okanagan College’s aboriginal student population has grown by more than 240 per cent over the last seven years

Okanagan College’s aboriginal student population has grown by more than 240 per cent over the last seven years, the fastest rate of any post-secondary institution in the province.

To respond to this growth, OC developed the Academy of Indigenous Scholars through a $40,000 grant from the Vancouver Foundation.

The Academy of Indigenous Scholars is a culturally relevant program developed to support first-year aboriginal students. The goal of the program is to empower students to take greater control of their education and fully utilize the services Okanagan College offers.

“This program comes from a place of advantage, not disadvantage,” said James Coble, student services director.

“We know these students can be successful and we’re here to facilitate their abilities, help them set goals for themselves and get the most out of their education.”

The program is open to all self-declared indigenous students in their first year of university-level arts, science and business programs starting in September. An indigenous student is anyone who declares himself or herself to be of First Nation (status or non-status), Metis or Inuit descent.

The Academy of Indigenous Scholars is accepting 15 students in Kelowna and five from each campus in Penticton, Vernon and Salmon Arm.

“Acceptance into the program isn’t based on grades. What’s important is students’ commitment to carrying through with the program to the end of the year,” said Coble.

The program launches in September.

Interested students should visit at www.okanagan.bc.ca/indigenousacademy.