Call for Proposals – Postsecondary Education Fund for Aboriginal Learners

From: Shannon Simpson, Director, Office of Indigenous Initiatives
Date: July 3, 2020
Re: Call for Proposals – Postsecondary Education Fund for Aboriginal Learners

The Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU) has been partnering with U of T, along with other postsecondary institutions across Ontario, for a number of years to administer the Postsecondary Education Fund for Aboriginal Learners (PEFAL). The goal of the fund is as follows (more information can be found, here and here):

“The (PEFAL) Student Success fund provides proposal-based funding to colleges, universities and Aboriginal Institutes for student-focused services and programs that increase the number of Aboriginal learners accessing and completing postsecondary education and training.”

Currently, the fund is administered through the Office of Indigenous Initiatives (the OII). The role of the OII with PEFAL is to oversee Indigenous programs supported by the fund, while offering leadership and strategic guidance on how to further Indigenous initiatives on all 3 U of T campuses going forward. 

PEFAL funding is monitored centrally, in order to ensure programs adhere to guidelines set by the MCU, and yearly reporting on all funded-programs is relayed back to MCU in order to inform the Province on the success of their Aboriginal Postsecondary Education & Training Policy.

The OII (and formerly, First Nations House) has worked with many units throughout the years to initiate or advance Indigenous programming; create new or support existing Indigenous positions; and consult with the university on a variety of topics related to Indigenous postsecondary education.

In the 2019-20 year, the OII made a call for proposals, and received over 30 individual programming ideas! In 2020-21 year, the OII is focusing on three priorities: 

  1. Supporting new initiatives by using PEFAL funding as seed funding: The OII will prioritize proposals for new Indigenous hires or continued programming that can demonstrate financial commitment from departments/divisions/units after a 2 – 3 year period of initial seed funding from PEFAL. This ensures programming continuity for Indigenous students, and will embed regular Indigenous programming into divisional budgets going forward.
  2. Collaboration Projects: We are encouraging initiatives to use collaborations and partnerships to deliver programming, events, and projects. Efforts will be made to increase transparency, and link programs and individuals who have similar programming ideas and/or target audiences.
  3. Student-Focused Indigenous Events: Large events that would benefit Indigenous students’ academic experience, aid with community building amongst peer groups, and/or enhance a component of coursework are supported and encouraged. Examples of this are: in-province conferences; experiential day trips; student workshops featuring Indigenous scholars, artists, or academics; Indigenous events on campus, etc. 

Proposals can be submitted HERE (clicking the link will take you to the project submission portal). Proposals are due July 27, 2020.

Thank you to all past units, and we look forward to working with you to grow Indigenous initiatives going forward.