“We are tremendously excited about the investment by the Government of Saskatchewan in Northern students, Northlands College, and UArctic!” says UArctic’s Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Co-Chair of the Canadian National Fundraising Team.  “This is the first major investment by a Canadian province or territory in UArctic programming and builds on the investment by the Government of Canada and Aboriginal governments and organizations, including Lac La Ronge Indian Band, as well as by Northlands College and the University of Saskatchewan.”
Northern Saskatchewan has unique characteristics and educational needs.  Its population of approximately 33,000 is young, 81% Aboriginal, and spread over a large geographic area, roughly the size of Norway.  Only 6.6% of the population aged 20-34 has a university certificate, diploma or degree, compared to 16.6% provincially, though studies show that workers with either some or completed post-secondary education accounted for 95% of net job growth.   Demographic projections suggest that the target population will have increasing educational needs. In the next fifteen years the population of Northern Saskatchewan is projected to grow by 38%, compared to 1% for Saskatchewan as a whole.
Northlands College’s first cohort of degree completion students, with a BA in Northern Studies from the University of Saskatchewan, are on track to complete their program in the spring of 2008.  “Provincial support for UArctic programming has opened a whole new era for Northern Saskatchewan,” says Glenys Plunz, Director of the International Academic Office of UArctic and Coordinator of University Program at Northlands College.  “Students who could not complete university degrees without leaving the North will now be able to do so with a BA in Northern Studies with specializations in areas such as Aboriginal Public Administration and Environmental Impact Assessment—this is extremely exciting!”