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Student Grants and Loans

Posted by David Gobeil on

There have been many changes to the Canada Student Grants Program starting with Budget 2016. The following changes result from the implementation of the proposals in Budget 2016:

 Increasing Canada Student Grant amounts by 50 percent,starting on August 1, 2016, which expanded available grant support for students from low- and middle-income families. More specifically, grants were increased from:

o   $2,000 to $3,000 per year for students from low-income families;

o   $800 to $1,200 per year for students from middle-income families; and

o   up to $1,200 to up to$1,800 per year for part-time students from low-income families.

Increasing the Repayment Assistance Plan eligibility thresholds, starting on November 1, 2016, to ensure that no student has to repay their Canada Student Loan until they are earning at least $25,000 per year. The threshold increases based on family size, being responsive to the financial realities of Canadians who may be married or in a common-law relationship and have children.

Introducing a new fixed student contribution, starting on August 1, 2017, eliminating the need for students to report estimates of their future income or their financial assets when applying for grants and loans. Students are instead expected to make a fixed contribution of between $1,500 and $3,000 towards their post-secondary education costs each year, based on their family income and size. This enables students to work and gain valuable work experience without worrying about a reduction in their level of financial assistance and particularly benefits working Canadians, many of whom may work while studying or have accumulated assets.

o   Students facing barriers to employment, including those with children, are exempted from making a contribution, thereby expanding their access to support from the Canada Student Loans Program.

o   As part of this change, the contributions expected of students’ spouses or common-law partners were relaxed, further expanding eligibility for working Canadians who are more likely to be married or in a common-law relationship.

Expanding eligibility for Canada Student Grants, starting on August 1, 2017, by replacing the previous low- and middle-income thresholds with a single, higher threshold which reduces grant amounts based on family income. This allows even more students, including working Canadians, to receive non-repayable assistance.

Budget 2017 introduced measures to provide enhanced student financial assistance and make better use of Employment Insurance flexibilities targeted to working or unemployed Canadians looking to return to school to upgrade their skills. Together these initiatives comprise Skills Boost.

Budget 2017 builds on measures implemented as part of Budget 2016, including further enhancements to the supports available to working Canadians by investing $454.4 million over four years to:

o   Introduce a three-year pilot project for adult learners that will, starting in the 2018–19 academic year:

  • provide top-up funding of an additional $1,600 per yearin grant support to students who have been out of high school for at least 10 years and are returning to full-time post-secondary studies; and
  • give flexibility to assess grant eligibility based on the current year’s income(rather than for the previous year) in recognition of a significant change in financial circumstances.

o   Expand eligibility for part-time grants and loans, starting in the 2018–19 academic year, allowing more students from low- and middle-income families to benefit from up to $1,800 in non‑repayable grants per year and up to $10,000 in loans.

o   Expand access to grants for students with children, starting in the 2018–19 academic year, allowing more:

  • full-time students with children to receive up to $200 per month per child; and
  • part-time students with children to receive up to $1,920 per year in grants.

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