Skip to content

Local programs eligible for free tuition initiative

Local programs eligible for free tuition initiative

Anyone thinking of becoming a nurse or paramedic got some good news last week, with the announcement of full funding for those programs locally.

Students enrolling in the Confederation College nursing program or Seven Generations Educational Institute’s paramedic program, and agree to serve a two-year term in the community they studied in, will qualify for the Learn and Stay Grant.

The grant, which was announced in March 2022 for students who enroll in nursing programs, has been expanded to include paramedic and medical laboratory technologist programs in priority communities. Eligible students will receive full, upfront funding for tuition, books and other direct educational costs in return for working and caring for people in the region where they studied for a term of service after they graduate. Students are also eligible for OSAP grants and loans, to help offset living expenses.

It’s great news for Chad Buist, Chief of Paramedic Services for the Rainy River District Social Services Board. He has been actively hiring since before the pandemic, and the existing paramedics have been working overtime for the past two years to cover the chronic shortage of staff.

He’s hoping local candidates will give the local SGEI program consideration.

People should consider becoming a Paramedic because its an opportunity to help care for others and make a difference in someone’s life,” he said. “Every day is different, which could look like helping someone in a car accident or delivering a baby. The learning is continuous as is the progression of the career. You will make close relationships and lifelong friends with your colleagues while giving back to your community.”

Medical laboratory technicians are also covered in the program, but the funding is limited to the programs offered through Cambrian College in Sudbury and St. Clair College in Windsor, and contingent on a two-year employment obligation in those regions.

Grant applications for the 2023-24 academic year open this spring, targeting 2,500 postsecondary students.

“This is a historic investment in our students and in the future of our health care workforce in Ontario,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “By providing targeted financial incentives to encourage students to learn and work in priority communities, the expanded Learn and Stay grant will ensure that our health care professionals get the training they need to make immediate impacts in local hospitals, long-term care homes and other health care facilities after they graduate.”

With more than 12,000 new nurses registering to work in Ontario last year – a record breaking year – and another 30,000 nurses studying at a college or university, the expanded Learn and Stay grant will continue to increase the number of health care workers providing care to people , closer to home.

“We know the status quo isn’t working, so we need to move forward with bold initiatives to add more health care professionals in Ontario and especially in rural and remote communities,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “Expanding this grant beyond nursing, to include two additional health care roles in high demand will help ensure that Ontarians, no matter the size of their community, will receive the care they need in their communities.”

Students who don’t complete the program, or their two-year work service in the community they studied in will be required to pay back the grant as a loan.

To find out more, visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *