Opportunity Fund supports non-traditional students

chelsea groveFinancial barriers removed for those under-represented in post-secondary education

WINNIPEG, MB – Chelsea Grove is a single mom with a seven year-old son who is pursuing her dream of attending The University of Winnipeg – and she says she could not have done it without the financial support she received from UWinnipeg’s unique Opportunity Fund. She received a fast-track bursary of $3,700 this year to assist her in her studies.

The 29 year-old was working in a technical position after obtaining a college diploma in civil engineering. “It was a good job but it did not use my social strengths, and I realized I need to be working directly with people.” Now Grove is in her 2nd year studying Criminal Justice and Psychology and volunteering with a literacy program through the Elizabeth Fry Society. “I love working with women and hope this will lead me to a people-oriented career.”

The Opportunity Fund relies on private donations to support students like Grove – with a focus on supporting Indigenous, new immigrant and refugee students, as well as inner city youth.  To date, UWinnipeg has been able to distribute 1,443 Opportunity Fund fast-track bursaries, and more than 200 of those students have now graduated.  In addition to fast-track bursaries, the fund provides tuition credits to inner city children as young as grade four to encourage them to “earn as they learn”. And most recently, UWinnipeg pioneered a program providing tuition waivers to youth leaving the child welfare system so they may attend university, a model that is now being replicated at other post-secondary institutions across Manitoba and Canada.

“We believe that anyone with a thirst to learn should be given the opportunity to earn a diploma or a degree, and in partnership with the private sector, we are removing financial barriers that can prevent individuals from following their dreams,” said Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, President and Vice-Chancellor, UWinnipeg. “This benefits students like Chelsea, but it also benefits all of us as we tap into the rich pool of diverse talent in our community.”

Established in 2007, UWinnipeg’s Opportunity Fund has now raised just over $ 3 million in donations . A signature annual event – the I Heart UWinnipeg Dinner – generously supports the Opportunity Fund. It will be held on May 21, 2014.

Find out more about the I Heart UWinnipeg Dinner at: http://www.uwinnipeg.ca/index/iheartuwinnipeg

Find out more about UWinnipeg’s Community Learning Initiatives at:



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Diane Poulin, Senior Communications Specialist, The University of Winnipeg

P: 204.988.7135, E: d.poulin@uwinnipeg.ca








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