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February 2008 - Nr. 2

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Children FirstChildren First grants help make private schools affordable for low income families

  TORONTO, ON—Children First: School Choice Trust is once again offering grants to low income families in Ontario who feel their children would benefit by attending a private school.

Children First grants are awarded based solely on financial need. The program provides grants that cover half the cost of tuition at any Ontario private school, up to a maximum of $4,000.

"I didn’t feel my children were doing well in the public school system and I needed to find an alternative. Children First gave us the option to choose and allowed us to find a school that matched our children’s needs," says Helena Dyck, whose four children have been receiving grants since 2004.

Founded in 2003, Children First School Choice Trust supports 1,000 economically disadvantaged students attending more than 200 private schools across Ontario. The grants are available as early as junior kindergarten and are renewable until the students complete Grade 8, subject to funding availability.

Tuition at private schools participating in the Children First program ranges from $650 to $24,175 per year. The average tuition at schools chosen by Children First families is $5,020 and the average grant just over $2,351.

Once a family is awarded a grant, they can choose which private school their child will attend, including, Montessori, Waldorf, arts, academic, and special needs schools.

"Private school education offers families many choices and our program helps make those choices available to parents who may not otherwise be able to afford it," said Michael Thomas, Children First Program Director.

"Children First helps families who have different needs, whether it’s a desire for smaller class sizes to help their kids catch up, developing artistic talents, or just wanting a safe school that teaches values important to the family."

Parents can apply online for a Children First School Choice Trust grant at

Applications can also be submitted by mail or parents can apply over the phone at 1-866-924-8881. The application deadline is March 31, 2008.

All new grants will be awarded in April via a random lottery once the applicant’s financial need has been determined.


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