A post-secondary education turns dreams into reality and should be within reach for everyone. Yet for some, a post- secondary education may appear to be an unattainable goal. With the rising cost of living, it’s becoming harder to make ends meet.

Many students struggle to manage the cost of returning to school when they have a family to support. Their circumstances may not allow for means of financial support beyond going into debt. For Indigenous and racialized communities, people with disabilities and 2SLGBTQ+ students, the social and financial barriers are often wider, and access to education is limited.

“Statistics show that there are significant gaps in the number of Indigenous students enrolling in university. There are also significant gaps for students with disabilities because they may not feel they can have a full experience on campus, and it’s important to create a safe space that serves as a home away from home for international students,” explains Martha Mathurin- Moe, vice-provost of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of Lethbridge.

ULethbridge is committed to assisting all students, and potential students, by removing barriers so they may be successful in their studies and beyond. Increasing the number of targeted financial supports and incentives to meet the needs of our growing diverse student body is a central focus of the drive for new endowed student awards and scholarships.

“If we can be part of helping to remove barriers, and work with our donors to do that, that’s a true win for the University,” says Mathurin-Moe.

Targeted interventions and supports such as awards, creation of inclusive spaces and mentorship will allow students of all backgrounds to realize their goals.

“Ideally, we want post- secondary education to be accessible,” says Mathurin-Moe.

“It’s about supporting the diverse student population and demonstrating that this is a place for all to learn, grow and thrive.”

Donors are stepping up in inspiring and unique ways to help improve inclusion and accessibility at ULethbridge. Thanks to donor support students with disabilities are participating in paid work experiences that assist them in improving employment skills after graduation. Other donors are helping budding entrepreneurs and future engineers build new assistive and adaptive technologies that increase well-being and independence for people with disabilities.

“When donors contribute to the University, they not only make a difference in a student’s life, they are also investing in a more inclusive and welcoming campus for current and future generations,” says Mathurin-Moe.

“Thank you to the donors who have provided me with scholarships," says ULethbridge student Ally DeJonge. "As a student with ADHD and dyslexia, I have to put a lot of time into my school work. Scholarships enable me to focus on my studies and not have to worry about having a job to pay for rent and supplies. Thank you for allowing me to have an equal playing field.”
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