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HomeCANADAPeel District School Board students with early university access graduate from LEAP...

Peel District School Board students with early university access graduate from LEAP at Algoma University

(BRAMPTON, ONTARIO, Jan. 30, 2024):  At Tuesday’s Learners Early Access Program (LEAP) graduation ceremony, 50 local Grade 11 and 12 students from Peel District School Board (PDSB) are celebrating their first university credits, and making big plans to head back to university after high school.

PDSB and Algoma University teamed up to launch LEAP in September 2023. Through LEAP, public high school students spend one semester on the Brampton Algoma University campus taking both their high school classes and university classes. The program is focused on students from groups historically underrepresented on university campuses, including Indigenous students and Black students. 

“The LEAP program is designed to build the confidence of local students and help them see they can thrive at university. And with courses like Unity virtual reality and app design, we’re getting them excited about how university education will lead to great jobs and bright futures,” said Algoma University president Asima Vezina. 

“Having a university campus right here in Brampton’s downtown is changing people’s lives; the City of Brampton asked for a local option for university access and we are delivering.  Having these high school students on our campus has been a joy for us — they’re enthusiastic, smart and given the opportunity, determined and destined to excel.”

“There has been a lot of hard work put into LEAP to prepare secondary school students for life after graduation and it has been incredible to see the impact,” said Peel District School Board’s Director of Education, Rashmi Swarup. “There’s an energy and optimism among the students that everything is possible. Now, when they step into post-secondary environments, they’ll feel confident and more prepared to take advantage of all opportunities on offer, and that’s exactly what we want to see as an outcome from this program.”

Among the 22 Grade 12 students graduating from their LEAP semester, almost all have applied to university for fall 2024. At least 16 will be Algoma University Thunderbirds. 

For those 16 students and many more to come, Vezina announced on Tuesday the introduction of the Algoma University LEAP Bursary, a $6,000 grant distributed over the first two years of university for each LEAP alum attending Algoma University. Algoma University is already among the top two Canadian universities when it comes to scholarships and bursaries, in line with its core commitment to change lives by helping more people access a university education. 

The LEAP program has a dedicated state-of-the-art space at the Brampton Algoma University campus, and the LEAP students join in campus life, including access to the same student supports all Algoma University students have, which includes free tutoring, a great line up of student events, mental health care, recreation facilities and more.

LEAP is growing. In February, a new, larger cohort of LEAP students will be welcomed to Algoma University to start their supported journey to post-secondary education. 

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