At uSask, you are encouraged to be yourself, to be heard and to create change. Culture, heritage, individuality and identity are celebrated in this community of more 23,000 people from around the world, including more than 2,900 self-declared Aboriginal students.

Aboriginal Student Achievement Program (ASAP)

Aboriginal Student Achievement Program - Learning Communities

Across our university, there are programs designed specifically to engage Aboriginal students by connecting you with peers, mentors, and Elders. 

The Aboriginal Student Achievement Program (ASAP) is just one of these programs. In it, you will:

  • share a common group of classes with other Aboriginal first-year students
  • participate in small class sizes with culturally conscious instructors
  • enjoy cultural events and time with Elders

“Finding a community and studying with people who have similar backgrounds and goals made all the difference.”

- Jennifer McGillivary 
College of Nursing, Muskeg Lake Cree Nation

When Jennifer McGillivary had finished her first year, she wasn’t sure if she would continue her studies. “I wasn’t a part of any support programs or communities and it was very lonely. I started to lose interest in post-secondary education.” That was, she says, until she joined the Aboriginal Student Achievement Program. 

Now, for Jennifer who is enrolled in the College of Nursing, education has become a reward unto itself. “As an Aboriginal female student, education is important to have alongside traditional customs and values."

Community and culture

The Gordon Oakes Redbear Student Centre is a place for you to connect with other students, access campus supports, use the computer lab or study in the bright and open student space. It is a place for community dedicated to the success of Métis, First Nations and Inuit students.

The centre houses both the Indigenous Students’ Council, Indigenous students working to unify, engage and advocate for Indigenous students and the Aboriginal Students’ Centre.

Aboriginal Students’ Centre (ASC)

The ASC is dedicated to supporting Aboriginal student academic and personal success and invites you to participate in the wide variety of programs and services offered throughout the year, including:

Social and culture programming:

  • traditional crafting workshops include beading, sash weaving and other activities
  • smudging ceremonies
  • Elders and Knowledge Keepers programming
  • pipe ceremonies
  • sweat lodge ceremonies

Support:

  • orientation for new students
  • English, math/statistics and chemistry tutoring
  • monthly first year check-ins
  • student development workshops
  • weekly soup and bannock lunches
  • Parent Circle

Recognition events:

  • Graduation Powwow
  • Aboriginal Achievement Week
  • National Aboriginal Day

Funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Saskatchewan offers many scholarships, bursaries and awards, and several are designated specially for students of Aboriginal ancestry. You are encouraged to apply for as many of our scholarships, bursaries and awards as possible, but if you'd like to see which of our awards are open exclusively to Aboriginal students, enter “Aboriginal” as a keyword in the Awards Search database.

Circle of Honour Awards (Best and Brightest Entrance Scholarships)

uSask's Best and Brightest Entrance Scholarships, our top awards for entering students, include five designated for Aboriginal students. These scholarships range in value from $24,000 to $40,000 over four years and are awarded to recognize academic excellence and community engagement.

Aboriginal Students with Dependent Children Bursary

This bursary is open to Canadian Aboriginal students enrolled in any program of study at uSask (including degree, diploma and certificate programs) with dependent children. All eligible applicants will receive the award. The value of the awards varies. 

Resources

Here are a few resources you can access to learn about other scholarship opportunities for Aboriginal students:

Accessing Aboriginal funding

First Nations students who are eligible for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, commonly known as band funding, should contact their First Nation for more information. In Saskatchewan, most bands have postsecondary coordinators to help with this.

Métis students may be eligible for financial support through Employment and Social Development Canada’s Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy. Check with your provincial Métis organization to see if they are an agreement holder. In Saskatchewan, Métis students can contact the Gabriel Dumont Institute for more information. 

Inuit students should contact their designated organization or Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) regarding applying for support.

Life

Residence and housing

There are four residence complexes at uSask, each offering its own benefits and appealing to students with different needs.

There is also a Living Learning Community (LLC) that brings together Aboriginal first year students who live together in residence, take a common set of courses and meet weekly with upper year peer mentors.

Childcare

We have three child-care facilities on campus that operate spaces for 200 children. There is also a Parents on Campus Group, where parents on campus can meet, share stories and information, and attend monthly info sessions on parenting issues (car seat safety, quick nutritious family meals, etc.) uSask also offers convenient breastfeeding locations for nursing mothers.

Transportation

A universal city bus pass, or U-Pass, is included in your student fees, whether you are planning to enroll full- or part-time in undergraduate or graduate-level study.

If you plan to drive to campus, there are a number of parking lots allocated for student parking, as well.

Choose from over 200 areas of study including 9 with an Indigenous focus

Academic programs

College of Arts and Science

  • There are academic advisors that work solely with Indigenous students and who use a holistic approach to advising, working with you as a whole person, including your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual self.
  • Choose from numerous Aboriginal Student Achievement Program learning communities
  • For students who don’t quite meet regular admission requirements, the college also offers the University Transition Program (UTRAN). UTRAN students get comprehensive skill building sessions, equipping students with the skills needed to become successful university students. 

College of Engineering

  • The college works to create connections among current and prospective Indigenous students, Indigenous communities, community organizations, industry partners and faculty members. This opens doors for you to many different careers and opportunities to make an impact. One example of this is the Indigenous Peoples Industry Partnership Program that connects Indigenous students with industry partners throughout their degree. 
  • For students who don’t quite meet regular admission requirements, the college offers alternative pathways for admission. Contact an advisor for more information.

Edwards School of Business

  • Home to the Rawlinson Centre for Aboriginal Business Students, one of the few dedicated spaces for Aboriginal business students across Canada. Through Centre funding, Aboriginal students can access dedicated student scholarships, emergency financial assistance, professional development funding and free tutoring services.
  • Aboriginal students can apply directly to the Bachelor of Commerce (B.Comm.) program or they can start out in the two-year Aboriginal Business Administration Certificate program, which is completely transferable to the B.Comm. program.

College of Education

  • We believe that the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge, and Indigenous worldview is a vital component to education in Canada.
  • Many of our programs are designed to provide Indigenous students throughout Saskatchewan the opportunity to enter the teaching profession through full-time/part-time programs based in Saskatoon and outlying Saskatchewan communities.

College of Kinesiology

  • Our faculty have worked closely with Aboriginal peoples to develop one of Canada’s first undergraduate kinesiology courses in Indigenous Wellness.
  • Meaningful research opportunities with Aboriginal communities are abundant in the college.
  • There are five seats designated each year in the College of Kinesiology specifically for Aboriginal students.

Non-direct entry colleges

These colleges require university credit prior to admission.

Dentistry

  • Each year, three of the 28 seats are designated for qualified Aboriginal applicants.

Law

  • Program of Legal Studies for Native People, an eight-week summer program that improves access to legal education for Aboriginal students and counts as credit for a first-year course in law.
  • The college has a team of faculty members looking at how best to fulfil call to action #28 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, ensuring all graduates have a strong understanding of Aboriginal people and the law.

Medicine

  • 10 per cent of its seats are designated for qualified Aboriginal applicants.
  • the Pathways to Medicine Program includes Aboriginal Mentorship, Pre-Med Awards, Pre-Health Sciences information, and a Pre-Admissions Workshop.
  • Aboriginal Health Electives give you the opportunity to work with Elders, Healers or Aboriginal communities. You may also go off-site to assist in clinical care in surrounding First Nations communities.

Nursing

  • one-sixth of all of its seats for Aboriginal applicants. The colleg has the highest proportion of self-declared Aboriginal undergraduate students in the country.
  • the University of Saskatchewan Community of Aboriginal Nursing (UCAN) program helps Aboriginal students become registered nurses. UCAN offers student advising, tutoring, bursaries, study spaces, access to Elders, mentorship, help with funding and creating community connections.
  • through its ‘learn where you live’ philosophy, students can complete their degree at any one of six sites across the province, including Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert, Yorkton, Île-à-la-Crosse and La Ronge, remaining close to their home communities.

Pharmacy and Nutrition

  • Each year, four spaces in pharmacy and two spaces in nutrition are reserved for qualified Aboriginal applicants.

Veterinary Medicine

  • Each year, two spaces are reserved for qualified Aboriginal applicants.

Academic excellence

No matter your passion and goals, you can find the support and expertise at uSask to help you succeed. Join our community as we create, innovate, discover and explore the world around us. Applications for most programs are open. Explore the programs offered by our 13 colleges and schools and apply today!

Cultural connection

The Aboriginal Students’ Centre offers regular social and cultural programming.