Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

June 14, 2007 08:00 ET

Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation: Seven in Ten High School Graduates Pursuing Post-Secondary Education, but Others Left Behind

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - June 14, 2007) - Seven in ten Canadian high school graduates are pursuing or have completed some form of post-secondary education two years after Grade 12, but the remainder face barriers that prevent them from obtaining a post-secondary credential, says new research published today by the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation.

Key findings of The Class of 2003 High School Follow-Up Survey, which involved Grade 12 students in four provinces two years after graduation, include:

- Fully 38% of respondents who had not entered a post-secondary program cited indecision about a career or lack of interest in further studies as the reason.

- Approximately 30% of those who did not access post-secondary education said it was due to a financial barrier, most commonly concern about too much debt.

- Meanwhile, 10% of those who went on to university or college dropped out within the first two years - the main reason being dissatisfaction with their program, followed by financial concerns and career indecision.

The study also shows that access to post-secondary education continues to be unequal across different groups of students. When compared with students whose parents have some post-secondary education, only half as many so-called "first-generation" students, whose parents never attended college or university, themselves went on to study after high school. Additionally, two years after finishing high school only 54% of Aboriginal students had completed or were continuing post-secondary studies, compared with 73% of non-Aboriginal students. Finally, more than one-third of students surveyed said that high school had not fully prepared them for making decisions about post-secondary education or their careers.

"Providing under-represented students with the information and encouragement they need to overcome the barriers to post-secondary education will be key to the continued growth of Canada's knowledge-based economy," said Norman Riddell, the Foundation's executive director and chief executive officer. "This research shows the importance of policies that will not only maintain our present participation rates but will also help under-represented students make good decisions about their career goals and the types of education required to achieve them."

The Class of 2003 High School Follow-Up Survey is available on the Foundation's website at

The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is a private, independent organization created by an act of Parliament in 1998. It encourages Canadian students to strive for excellence and pursue their post-secondary studies. Each year, the Foundation distributes some $350 million in the form of bursaries and scholarships throughout Canada. Since its inception, it has awarded 800,000 bursaries, with a total value of $2.3 billion, to Canadian post-secondary students.

Contact Information

  • Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation
    Jaime Frederick
    Communications Advisor
    (514) 284-7240