Explaining Support for Post-Secondary Educational Funding for Indigenous Students
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Description: A concerning post-secondary education gap exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals in Canada. One program designed to help address this issue, the Post-Secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP), provides eligible First Nations students with post-secondary education funding. Although such programs are beneficial, it is unclear how much Canadians support public funding of Indigenous education and whether psychological research can help explain why some may endorse or oppose it. Thus, using the PSSSP as an example, we examined five possible psychological predictors of public support: personal prejudice towards Indigenous Peoples, perceived social mobility, meritocratic beliefs, group zero-sum beliefs, and political conservatism. Based on previous research, we hypothesized that all would negatively relate to support for the PSSSP. In a sample of Canadian adults, we found that only higher personal prejudice, group zero-sum beliefs, and political conservatism uniquely explained lower support for the program (or conversely, lower prejudice, group zero-sum beliefs, and political liberalism, were related to higher program support). Although correlational, this study provides insight into factors that may influence Canadians’ attitudes toward a program aimed at addressing a consequential societal inequality. We discuss the implications of these findings with regards to support for programs and policies targeted at marginalized groups.