Helping BC Income Assistance Recipients Upgrade Their Education
Collection: Research Materials
This report examines a set of policies and practices formerly in place in British Columbia that supported access to post-secondary education and upgrading programs for income assistance (IA) recipients, particularly those facing multiple barriers to employment and education. The policies ended in 2002.
Based on interviews with staff who delivered these programs in colleges and institutes during the late 1990s, the authors describe the “best practices” for programs designed to help people with low income improve their educational credentials.
They found that effective programs address the key areas of access, retention, and transition. Other key components include identification of the existence of multiple obstacles to accessing formal education; outreach activities and strong links with community and relevant government agencies; assessment of students’ needs and capabilities; financial help with tuition, fees, books, housing, and child care; and support for academic success, including counselling, advocacy, networking, and partnerships with employers.
The authors call on the British Columbia government to change welfare rules so that people receiving income assistance can participate in postsecondary education; restore and increase designated funding to post-secondary institutions to support IA recipients; support colleges and institutes in providing programs and services that offer holistic support to students; and restore tuition-free adult basic education in British Columbia’s public post-secondary institutions.