Tuition grant a ‘gamechanger’ for Georgian nursing student in Owen Sound

There is one thing you may not know about Ashlyn Kuhl-Yorke.

The 18-year-old Owen Sound resident is an average, hardworking student in the Honours Bachelor of Science – Nursing (HBSN) program at Georgian College – but her tuition fee? $0.

Ashlyn took advantage of the provincial government’s Ontario Learn and Stay Grant, which covers tuition and other fees between $5,000 and $10,000 a year.

“My mom and I checked it out and I was like, ‘It sounds great, but there’s no way that’s a real thing,’” she says, with a laugh. “When we realized it was legitimate, and then I successfully applied, it was huge for my family. I live in a single-income household, so to be able to stay home and study what I want and to have a lot of the financial strain removed is amazing. I’ll be graduating with little to no debt.”

A person wearing nursing scrubs stands next to a hospital bed in which a simulator adult patient holds a simulator baby patient.
Ashlyn, pictured with two simulator patients, is an Honours Bachelor of Science – Nursing student at Georgian’s Owen Sound Campus.

There’s still time to apply

Nursing students at Owen Sound Campus can still apply for the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant, which was first announced last February.

Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be an Ontario resident.
  • Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or protected person.
  • Entering their first semester/year at Georgian College.
  • Successfully enrolled in either the Practical Nursing or Honours Bachelor of Science – Nursing program in fall 2024 or winter 2025 at the Owen Sound Campus.

Successful applicants must also commit to work in the Owen Sound region for a minimum of six months for every year of study funded by the grant.

A person wearing nursing scrubs stands behind a wheelchair in which a simulator child patient sits.
Ashlyn, pictured with a simulator patient, has always wanted to live, study and work in her hometown of Owen Sound.

Being a nurse close to home ‘really important’ for Ashlyn

For Ashlyn, being able to live, study and work in the same community is a dream come true.

“That was always my goal anyway. I’ve always wanted to help our community. In the Owen Sound area, we have an aging population, so I think it’s really important that people are able to learn here and stay here,” she says.

Ashlyn has wanted a career in nursing ever since she did a high-school co-op in the local hospital’s mental health unit.

“I had never had that kind of hands-on experience before and I got to interact with my community, which was so special to me. I shadowed nurses there and it clicked – this is what I want to do,” she says.

‘You don’t have to leave (home) to do what you love’

And now, with both the Honours Bachelor of Science – Nursing program and the Ontario Learn and Stay Grant in Owen Sound, Ashlyn says she hopes more people will explore the idea of studying and working close to home.

“Growing up, it was kind of put into our heads that we should leave home and go to a larger city, but that’s not for everyone and that’s OK. It’s really important that people know you don’t have to leave to do what you love,” she says.

“And if you want to study nursing, why not take advantage of the grant? To be able to complete a nursing degree without a significant amount of debt is a gamechanger.”

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