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Date: September 08, 2005

Enhancing the Success of Aboriginal Students

The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation and the University of Victoria today announced the details of a new pilot project that will measure ways of improving the success rates of Aboriginal students in post-secondary education. The LE,NONET (pronounced le-non-git) project, the first of its kind in Canada, will provide financial, academic and cultural support to Aboriginal students at the university during each of the next four academic years. LE,NONET is a Sencoten word meaning “success after enduring hardships.”

“As part of our mandate to improve access to post-secondary education in Canada, our Foundation is committed to understanding how we can improve the success rate of Aboriginal students on campus,” said Norman Riddell, the Foundation’s executive director and CEO. “Aboriginal students face unique barriers to success in higher education. The LE,NONET project will explore ways of breaking down those barriers and enabling Aboriginal success in higher education.”

“I’m very proud that the University of Victoria is taking the lead in this important, ground-breaking initiative as part of our commitment to improving and enhancing the post-secondary experience of Aboriginal students,” says UVic President Dr. David Turpin. “Thanks to the support from the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation, we’ll be able to build on UVic’s on-going relationship with First Nations communities. What we learn through LE,NONET will benefit Aboriginal students, challenge our approach to their post-secondary instruction, and assist all universities in improving the retention and success of their Aboriginal students.”

The LE,NONET project will provide non-repayable financial assistance, peer mentoring, academic apprenticeships and community internships. Four hundred Aboriginal students enrolled at the University during the next four years, the majority of whom will be in their first year of study, will benefit from the various programs. The Foundation will fund 80 per cent of the $4.5 million project, with the University providing the remainder in addition to administering and evaluating it. LE,NONET was developed in partnership with Aboriginal community leaders, including Chief David Bob of the Nanoose First Nations. “The LE,NONET Project addresses some of the fundamental issues that affect the success of students,” he says, “and we support this initiative.”

The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is a private, independent organization created by an act of parliament in 1998. It encourages Canadian students to strive for excellence and pursue their post-secondary studies. The foundation distributes $325 million in bursaries and scholarships each year throughout Canada. Since its inception, it has awarded more than $1.7 billion in the form of over 550,000 bursaries and scholarships to Canadian post-secondary students, including more than 6,200 awards worth approximately $20 million to students at the University of Victoria.
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Media contacts:
Patty Pitts (Manager Media Relations, University Communications Services) at (250) 721-7656 or ppitts@uvic.ca
Joseph Berger (Communications, Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation) at (514) 284-7246 or jberger@bm-ms.org

Backgrounders:
LE,NONET Programs At the University of Victoria
Q and As about LE,NONET
Aboriginal Education and Initiatives at UVic
Photos page:
Enhancing the Success of Aboriginal Students Images

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

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