The president of the University of Regina says more needs to done to provide aboriginal students with access to post-secondary education.

Vianne Timmons also says more needs to be done to educate Canadians about the barriers these students face.

She is hoping both issues will be addressed at a national conference being hosted by the U of R today and tomorrow.

“There is so much we have to do and we have to do it for economic reasons,  we have to do it for moral and equitable reasons and we have to do it because it is the right thing to do.”

Timmons says the U of R has made some inroads, but more needs to be done.

About 11% of the student population is aboriginal but Timmons says it should be higher.

“I would like to see that go up because I would like to be more representative of the population but when you look at high school graduation rates and when you look at student success I think we are doing extremely well.”

There are 150 registered delegates and some pretty high profile speakers that are taking part in the summit on aboriginal post-secondary Education.

Among them, Sean Atleo, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and Lloyd Axworthy,  former federal politician and now president of the University of Winnipeg.

Timmons says she hopes the conference will result in some meaningful measures to improve access for aboriginal students and at the same time give Canadians an education on the difficulties they face.

“Oh absolutely, education in a number of ways.  There is still tremendous racism and misconceptions out there in terms of our aboriginal people and the benefits that are provided by the Canadian government.”

The two-day summit is funded by a donation from the late Lloyd Barber.

He is a former president of the University of Regina and was instrumental in the establishment of the First-Nations University.

Barber died in 2011.

The conference wraps up tomorrow afternoon with a speech from AFN chief Sean Atleo.