The Government of Canada funds elementary and secondary education for First Nations students ordinarily resident on reserve, and provides post-secondary education financial support for eligible First Nation and Inuit students. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) works with First Nations and provinces/territories to support quality education for First Nations students so they can acquire the skills needed to enter the labour market and be full participants in the Canadian economy.

About elementary and secondary education programs

First Nations and their regional organizations have responsibility for managing and delivering education programs and services in a number of band-operated schools on reserve across Canada. In addition, AANDC delivers services directly on reserve in seven federally operated schools and covers the tuition costs for First Nation students living on reserve but attending provincial schools off reserve.

Elementary and secondary school support for First Nation students living off reserve, as well as Métis, Inuit and non-status Indians, is provided through provincial and territorial school systems.

In 2012-2013, AANDC invested $1.62 billion in First Nation kindergarten to grade 12 education and more than $331 million in post-secondary education to support First Nation and Inuit students across Canada. This funding was in addition to the approximately $226 million in 2012-2013 to support infrastructure costs for education facilities. This funding supported some 113,000 full-time equivalent First Nation students, ordinarily resident on reserve, in their elementary or secondary education and about 22,000 post-secondary students.

About post-secondary education programs

AANDC has two funding programs for eligible Status Indian and Inuit students to help offset tuition, travel or living expenses; and one proposal-based program to help post-secondary institutions design and deliver university- and college-level courses tailored for First Nations and Inuit students.

AANDC also provides an online searchable list called the Aboriginal Bursaries Search Tool of more than 750 bursaries, scholarships and incentives offered by governments, universities and colleges, private and public companies, individual Canadians, organizations and others across Canada.

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