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McGill University announces a new tuition initiative for Indigenous students

Published: 20 June 2024

Beginning in the Fall of 2024, McGill University will cover tuition and mandatory fees for Indigenous students who are members of local/proximate First Nation communities as well as Indigenous students learning within programs delivered through Indigenous partnership agreements within the School of Social Work, the School of Continuing Studies and the Office of First Nations and Inuit Education. The aim of the initiative is to make the University more accessible and inclusive for Indigenous students, while at the same time expressing McGill’s desire to engage in relationship-building, partnership and collaboration with Indigenous nations and communities.

The 2017 report of the McGill Provost's Task Force on Indigenous Studies and Indigenous Education identified 52 Calls to Action that it deemed to be essential for the University to move forward with reconciliation. Many of the Calls to Action relate to a commitment to increase the number of, and the supports for, Indigenous students at the University.

The new tuition initiative is a vital next step in McGill’s ongoing effort to redress historic harms and support the development and maintenance of respectful and meaningful relationships with Indigenous peoples, according to Celeste Pedri-Spade, Associate Provost (Indigenous Initiatives).

Supporting access and success for Indigenous students is a way to support the strengthening of Indigenous communities and nations, particularly those on whose land the University is situated and those closely connected to the University through established educational programming.

“It’s important to think about the students in a relational way,” said Pedri-Spade. “Though supporting individual students is a primary goal, we can’t and shouldn’t view Indigenous students disconnected from their respective communities, nations and homelands. We can’t forget that we are reconciling with the legacy of Indian education in Canada, which means we are reconciling with the forced removal of Indigenous peoples from their families and communities; therefore, it makes sense that a pathway towards reconciliation would acknowledge and honour Indigenous students’ relationships with community and place.”

Christopher Manfredi, McGill’s Provost and Executive Vice-President (Academic) said that increasing Indigenous students' access to education is a key part of reconciliation. “That’s why we are so excited to announce this new tuition initiative,” he said. “This commitment marks another milestone in our responses to our Calls to Action. McGill University will continue the essential work to ensure Indigenous voices, ideas, histories and discoveries enrich the future of our University in meaningful ways.”

Details of the Indigenous Tuition Initiative

The tuition initiative is being implemented in phases. The first eligible cohorts are:

1. Students and prospective students from local Kanien’kehaka (Mohawk) communities: Because McGill University is located on Tiohtià:ke, the initiative is available to First Nations students who are  members of Kahnawà:ke, Kanesatake, and Akwesasne (including members of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe). The Haudenosaunee community of Six Nations of the Grand in Ontario is also included in the first phase. While located in Ontario, the inclusion of Six Nations of the Grand River signals McGill’s recognition of how, in the 19th century, the institution benefitted from a federal government loan linked to funds allocated to the Six Nations of the Grand River. In the spirit of redress and reconciliation, students from Six Nations of the Grand River will be included in the first phase of this new Indigenous Tuition Initiative.

2. Prospective and current diploma students in the School of Social Work, the School of Continuing Studies or the Office of First Nations and Indigenous Education with membership in one of the following groups:

  • Cree Nation of Mistissini
  • Cree Nation of Eastmain
  • Cree Nation Government
  • Cree Nation of Chisasibi
  • Cree Eeyou Resource and Research Institute
  • Ouje-Bougoumou Cree Nation
  • Makivvik
  • Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services
  • Kativik Ilisarniliriniq
  • Cree School Board
  • Naskapi Education Committee
  • Listuguj Education Directorate
  • Micmacs of Gesgapegiag
  • Nunavik
  • Mamu Tshishkutamashutau Innu Education
  • Kanehsatà:ke Mohawk Language Custodian Association*
  • Kahnawake Education Center*

*We acknowledge two partnerships exist (Kahnawake Education Center and Mohawk Language Custodian Association of Kanehsatà:ke) which are listed in Category B, but by virtue of their citizenship/community affiliation, Indigenous students in these partnerships are also eligible under Category A.


Photos and video from event

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