There’s some extra support on the way for youth in B.C. who have aged out of government care and are pursuing post-secondary education this fall.

An additional $250,000 from the Youth Futures Education Fund (YFEF) will help with expenses beyond tuition, such as rent, utilities and groceries.

“Students often turn to their parents for support with living expenses while they pursue their post-secondary education dreams. Former youth in care rarely have that option,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “The Youth Futures Education Fund is about providing extra support to ensure former youth in care can focus on their studies to achieve their career ambitions.”

Mark says the fund shines a light on the government and private efforts working in partnership “to empower former youth in care to cross the finish line and build a brighter future for themselves.”

Students who meet eligibility requirements for the funding must be using the Provincial Tuition Waiver Program while studying at one of the 25 public post-secondary institutions across the province or at the Native Education College.

The average amount students receive from YFEF is approximately $1,300.

Eligible students, up to their 27th birthday, can also tap into the Agreements with Young Adults program as one more support to help with housing, child care, tuition and health care, while they return to school or attend rehabilitation, vocational or an approved life-skills program.

“By working together across ministries, we can increase the level of support available to youth in care and help them pursue post-secondary education by reducing the barriers that many face,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “As BC Child and Youth in Care Week comes to a close, this investment is particularly timely, giving even more youth the opportunity to succeed now and into the future.”

YFEF is an application-based program administered by the Vancouver Foundation, funded in part by the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, as well as organizational and private donations.

Since 2015, nearly $2 million has been raised for the fund, with $1 million coming directly from the government.

Close to $1.4 million has been distributed to more than 600 students attending college or university on a provincial tuition waiver.