Yellow brick road to higher education

Scarborough Village students can now find relief from the financial burden of post-secondary education.

The source of relief: Pathways to Education, a charitable organization that aims to lower the high school dropout rate and increase access to post-secondary education among disadvantaged youth.

Beginning with the current school year Pathways, in partnership with YouthLink, is offering students in Scarborough Village an opportunity to receive a $1,000 bursary for every completed year of high school. At the end of each year, the money is saved for each student and can be redeemed only if the student pursues post-secondary education.

The program is an incentive for students to further their education and alleviates the cost of tuition fees.

“A lot of the students in Scarborough Village, even if they are successful academically, still have challenges accessing post-secondary school because of its costs,” said Ronni Gorman, manager for the Scarborough Village project.

However, living in Scarborough Village and attending high school doesn’t automatically entitle every student to the bursaries.

Students must register with the program to receive the full bursaries. They must prove they are in the ninth grade and are residents of one of the 21 chosen buildings in Scarborough Village. Based on data from YouthLink, these buildings have “the highest level of challenges academically and socially,” Gorman said.

Students must also fulfil the program requirements, such as attending classes and tutoring sessions and working closely with their student-parent support worker.

“The idea is to teach the students internal discipline, and saying to the students that with the provided support from Pathways to Education, we know you can actually do really well in life,” said Maureen Thompson, Pathways director of program development.

The program, which originated in Regent Park, is the first Pathways program brought to Scarborough. It is offered in other Toronto areas including Regent Park, Lawrence Heights and Rexdale.

There are currently 83 grade nine students registered with Pathways to Education from Scarborough Village.