The Indigenous Services Team
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Who We Are
As a part of Okanagan College’s commitment to enhancing the participation of Indigenous learners, the College provides Indigenous support services at each of the four campuses.
Our goal is to provide culturally relevant support including:
cultural and academic workshops
Indigenous peer mentors
Indigenous Student Centres
Indigenous awards, scholarships and bursary information
assistance with band funding applications
providing personalized daily supports
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Applying to Okanagan College
Explore program information and decide which program and campus interests you. Review program requirements, admissions, and minimum grades needed.
Our dedicated Indigenous student services team is here to help you plan out your application, review admission requirements and provide guidance on available funding. They can also help you explore your options if you are unsure of which program to pursue. If you have detailed questions about programs, transfer credits or laddering to another program, please see Education Advising to contact an OC Education Advisor.
Talk with your First Nations or Métis Associations Education Coordinator, college Financial Aid staff, college Indigenous Student Services Coordinators or community employment counsellors.
To submit an application you can apply online. There is a $30 non-refundable application fee. If you have detailed questions about programs, transfer credits or laddering into another program, please see Education Advising.
Once you apply, you will receive a student number and login information for myOkanagan. You can then see the status of your application and check on required documents. The College will email you about your application status.
The following are a few things to consider when applying:
- On the first business day of October each year Okanagan College begins accepting applications for academic programs for Fall programs starting the next year.
- The grade and percentages listed in the admission requirements are the minimum grades required to enter a program.
- Okanagan College may cease to accept applications for a given intake if the number of applications submitted greatly exceeds enrolment capacity. Early application for all programs is strongly advised.
Okanagan College is committed to increasing the access to, and completion of education for students with Indigenous ancestry. The College will annually set aside a predetermined number of spots specifically for students with Indigenous ancestry; this number being commensurate with student interest, available classes and learning support resources. While the number may vary from program to program, it will not normally exceed six percent of the intake capacity for any given program in a particular year.
If you are sponsored by your First Nation, Indigenous organization, employer or government agency, your sponsor must provide a signed letter to Okanagan College. The letter will be used to bill your sponsor.
The sponsor letter should contain the following:
- Your full legal name that you are registered with at Okanagan College
- Your student number
- What type of charges the sponsor is willing to pay on your behalf, providing as much detail as possible. These charges could include the non-refundable tuition deposit, tuition fees, mandatory fees, student association fees, health, dental, books, supplies, material fees or any other billing items
- The maximum allowable amount the sponsor is willing to pay per term (if there is a maximum)
The sponsor should also send a copy of the letter to you, so you have a copy on file if you need to show it to the Registrar's office or Bookstore.
All sponsorship letters and documentation can be emailed to (AccountsReceivable@okanagan.bc.ca),
Or, faxed or mailed to the address below (regardless of the campus the sponsored student will be attending).
All sponsorship letter should be submitted into Finance prior to the fee payment deadline. Your sponsor will be billed at a later date.
Note: Information will not be released to your sponsor without an information release form signed by you. You can add the sponsor's name under "Consent to Release Information" on your myOkanagan student page. To learn how to release your information look under the Other Information page.
1000 KLO Road
Kelowna, BC, V1Y 4X8
Okanagan College offers up to $75,000 annually to support Indigenous Students.
Find out more about awards available through Financial Aid and Awards.
Are you struggling financially? Talk to us by booking an appointment or emailing one of our team members. Learn more about the Indigenous Emergency Assistance Fund.
The Indigenous Bursaries Search Tool is a searchable list of more than 750 bursaries, scholarships and incentives across Canada.
The Indspire awards used to be known as the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (NAAF) has grown into the largest non-governmental funding body for First Nations, Inuit and Métis post-secondary students across Canada.
Bursary and scholarship awards are provided to over 600 First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students in a range of areas. The Indspire awards have given over $32 million to over 8,400 recipients since its beginning.
Indspire offers financial aid (scholarships and bursaries) through three major categories: Post-Secondary Education, Fine Arts and Cultural Projects, and Health Careers.
Irving K. Barber BC Indigenous Student Award
The B.C. Indigenous Student Award was established in 2008 as part of the Provincial Government's strategy to improve Indigenous access and achievement. Its purpose is to support Indigenous people in getting post-secondary education by reducing financial barriers.
The Scholarship Society administers the program in partnership with the Victoria Foundation. Awards of $1,000 - $3,500 are available for Indigenous people pursuing post-secondary education that is at least nine weeks long.
Assistance for former children and youth in care
Provincial Tuition Waiver Program
Starting in September 2017, students who are attending or planning to attend a BC public post-secondary institution may be eligible for this tuition waiver program. Click on the link above for more information on eligibility criteria and application form.
Youth Education Assistant Fund
Full-time students who were adopted or in foster care as children may be eligible for this grant. Click the link above for more information on the eligibility criteria and application form.
First Nation communities in the College's service area
Community support in the region
Between the Lakes Powwow 2023
June 23rd 2023 marked a monumental moment for the Four Seasons Cultural Society as they hosted the Between the Lakes Powwow for the first time at the South Okanagan Events Centre. Traditionally the annual Powwow has been hosted on the Penticton Indian Band Reserve baseball fields. The last Powwow took place in 2019. Kristine Jack, the Executive Director and Haley Regan, Head of Volunteers of Four Seasons Cultural Society had a vision to move the Powwow off the reserve and bring the Powwow to all of Penticton to share Indigenous culture. The Between the Lakes Powwow attracted 140 dancers from across Canada and the United States and five drumming groups for competition. Three Grand Entries wowed the crowd with rainbows of colour dancing to the powerful beat of the drum groups. Saturday was an extra special day for the Powwow’s Head Man and Woman, who exchanged vows with a traditional wedding ceremony. Another touching moment was the Overdose Awareness round dance, which invited everyone down to the SOEC floor to bring awareness to the long-reaching effects of overdoses. The floor was filled with three large circles of hands holding and feet dancing together. Highlights from the weekend included food trucks and vendors selling Bannock Tacos, Bannock Burgers, other goodies and Indian Ice Cream. A vendor's hall packed with Indigenous-themed clothing for sale, beaded earrings, moccasins, and ribbon skirts. The event was well attended and supported by 100 volunteers. We are all looking forward to next year’s Annual Powwow Between the Lakes, thank you Four Seasons Cultural Society.
-Samantha Smith, Indigenous Student Services Coordinator - Penticton Campus
Indigenous Education Council
The UBC Okanagan's campus (UBCO) and Okanagan College (OC) Indigenous Education Council (Council) provide OC and UBCO with advice, recommendations and guidance to improve the participation and success of Indigenous students in OC and UBCO programs. Through collaborative and inclusive engagement, the Council assists OC and UBCO in identifying educational needs and goals of Indigenous peoples, while also enhancing Indigenous cultural understandings within the respective institutions.