Post-secondary students find it more affordable to access their education dreams

HALIFAX, Sept. 12, 2016 /CNW/ - Ensuring the success of Canadian youth and students is key to the Government's commitment to strengthening Canada's middle class and helping those working hard to join it.

Today, Rodger Cuzner, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and Member of Parliament for Cape Breton–Canso, on behalf of the Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, was joined by Patricia Arab, MLA for Fairview-Clayton Park, on behalf of the HonourableKelly Regan, Nova Scotia Minister of Labour and Advanced Education, at Mount Saint Vincent University. He spoke to students about the significant changes the Government has made to help students with the rising costs of pursuing a post-secondary education as they return to class this fall.

The Parliamentary Secretary outlined improvements to student financial assistance, including 50-percent increases to Canada Student Grant amounts:

  • from $2,000 to $3,000 per year for full-time students from low-income families;
  • from $800 to $1,200 per year for students from middle-income families; and
  • from $1,200 to $1,800 per year for part-time students from low-income families.

These increases will help over 11,000 students in Nova Scotia alone. When combined with provincial student grants, the average full-time undergraduate student from a low-income family in Nova Scotia could receive approximately $5,500 in grants.

Beginning November 1, the Government of Canada will ease the rules on its Repayment Assistance Plan by ensuring that no single borrower will be required to make any repayment until he or she is earning at least $25,000 per year.

The Parliamentary Secretary reinforced the Government's commitment to listening to Canadians, which includes hearing the call from students for more support. This is why enhanced supports have been brought forward: to enable students to afford and access the post-secondary education they require to get the skills they need to pursue their careers.

Quotes

"Ensuring our students have access to post-secondary education is part of our government's commitment to strengthening the middle class and helping those working hard to join it. It's not only an investment in the leaders of tomorrow, it's an investment in leaders today. Through these enhancements, our government is helping Canadian students get the skills and training they need to pursue the careers they want— in the high-value jobs of the future."
– Rodger Cuzner, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, and Member of Parliament for Cape Breton–Canso

"Education is key to future success and prosperity. Our investments are making post-secondary education more affordable and more accessible for students. It's going to help grow the Canadian middle class and help Canadians get the skills and experience they need for good jobs."
– The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

"We're so pleased with the Government of Canada's investment in student assistance. These changes—particularly the increase in non-repayable grants—will help make post-secondary education more affordable‎ for students in Nova Scotia."
–The HonourableKelly Regan, Nova Scotia Minister of Labour and Advanced Education

"At the Mount, we are committed to providing students with access to a high-quality education and learning experience. This announcement by the federal government reinforces this commitment and recognizes the importance of post-secondary education. Our students will benefit from this funding as they pursue studies that will position them for success in the world."
– Dr. Elizabeth Church, Vice-President Academic, Mount Saint Vincent University

"I returned to school as a mature student and single mom to build a better future. And I couldn't have done it without support like the Canada Student Grant. The support I'm receiving will benefit my life in all areas and, ultimately, mean a new career and future for me."
Ali Bennett, first-year Applied Human Nutrition student at Mount Saint Vincent University and recipient of a Canada Student Grant

Quick Facts

  • Budget 2016 provided the first significant increase to Canada Student Grants and the Repayment Assistance Plan income thresholds since 2009.
  • Increases to Canada Student Grants are expected to benefit 11,000 students from Nova Scotia.
  • Over 800 students at Mount Saint Vincent University received Canada Student Grants during the 2013–14 school year.
  • The increase to Canada Student Grants will provide additional assistance of $1.53 billion over five years.
  • The increase to the Repayment Assistance Plan eligibility thresholds will provide additional assistance of $131.4 million over five years.
  • According to Statistics Canada, over a 20-year period, students with a bachelor's degree will earn between $442,000 and $728,000 more than someone with only a high school diploma.

Associated Links

Budget 2016
Canada.ca/Student-Financial-Assistance
Student Financial Assistance Estimator

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Backgrounder


BUDGET 2016 – Making Post-Secondary Education More Affordable

Enhancing Canada Student Grants

Canada Student Grants (CSGs) provide up-front, non-repayable financial assistance to low- and middle-income students and students with permanent disabilities or dependents. Eligibility is assessed at the time the student applies for student loans.

Budget 2016 proposed to increase CSG amounts by 50 percent:

  • from $2,000 to $3,000 per year for full-time students from low-income families;
  • from $800 to $1,200 per year for full-time students from middle-income families; and
  • from $1,200 to $1,800 per year for part-time students from low-income families.

Increasing the CSGs will benefit over 350,000 students across Canada: approximately 247,000 low-income students; 100,000 middle-income students; and 16,000 part-time students per year. This measure will provide assistance of $1.53 billion over five years, starting in 2016–17.

Budget 2016 also proposed to expand eligibility for CSGs to help even more students receive non-repayable assistance through an investment of $790 million over four years. The new eligibility thresholds are expected to be in place for the 2017–18 academic year, following consultations with provinces and territories. Under the new model, the existing low- and middle-income thresholds will be replaced with a single progressive threshold under which grant amounts will gradually decline based on income and family size.

Repayment Assistance Plan

The Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP) can help Canada Student Loan borrowers having difficulty making their payments following their studies. The RAP makes it easier for borrowers to manage their student loans by paying back what they can reasonably afford, based on their family income and size. Students must apply for the RAP in order to receive this support.

Since its introduction in 2009, the Repayment Assistance Plan income thresholds, which currently begin at $20,210 (gross income), have not been adjusted and do not reflect minimum wage increases.

  • In Nova Scotia, for instance, $8.60/hour in 2009 amounted to a yearly salary of $17,888 at 40 hours/week. However, the increase to $10.60/hour by 2015 amounted to a yearly salary of $22,048, which is above the current minimum affordable payment threshold.

Budget 2016 proposed to increase the loan repayment threshold under the Canada Student Loans Program's Repayment Assistance Plan to ensure that no borrower who applies will have to repay their Canada Student Loan until they are earning at least $25,000 per year. This income threshold is for a single individual; for other family sizes, see the table below. Students earning more than this amount may also be eligible for reduced payments. Students who think they may face difficulties repaying their loans should contact the National Student Loans Service Centre to learn more. This measure will provide assistance of $131.4 million over five years, starting on November 1, 2016.

 

Annual Family Gross Income Thresholds for RAP Zero Payment by Family Size

Family Size

Current RAP Thresholds

RAP Thresholds as of Nov. 1

Percentage Change

1

$20,210

$25,000

23.7%

2

$31,570

$39,052

23.7%

3

$40,790

$50,457

23.7%

4

$48,110

$59,512

23.7%

5+

$54,830

$67,825

23.7%

 

Provincial and territorial information for Canada Student Loans and Grants

The Government of Canada works with most provincial or territorial governments to deliver federal and provincial student loans and grants.

  • In Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Canada and the provincial governments work together to provide financial assistance through Integrated Student Loans and Grants.
  • In Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, Canada Student Loans and Grants are available alongside provincial or territorial student financial assistance.
  • In Yukon, only Canada Student Loans and Grants and territorial grants are available to permanent residents of Yukon.

Non-participating jurisdictions

Quebec, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories chose not to participate in the Canada Student Loans Program and receive an alternative payment from the Government of Canada to administer their own student financial assistance measures.

Nova Scotia

Although the Government of Canada directly finances federal student loans, Nova Scotia processes Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP) applications and conducts eligibility assessments for Canada Student Loans and Grants alongside provincial student loans and grants. Up to 60 percent of a Nova Scotia student's demonstrated financial need is covered by the CSLP, with Nova Scotia covering the remaining need through the Nova Scotia Student Assistance Program, up to a stipulated maximum amount.

Nova Scotia provides additional financial supports to students in the form of provincial grants, loan forgiveness measures and interest-free loans for Nova Scotia students who remain in the province after graduation. Nova Scotia is working with the CSLP to implement changes to the federal student assistance program and will be mirroring the new federal income threshold for the Repayment Assistance Plan effective November 1, 2016.

The CSLP and Nova Scotia, alongside other provinces and territories, work closely together to improve the coordination of federal and provincial programs, to improve student financial assistance and to respond to the needs of students.

 

SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: Contacts: Carlene Variyan, Director of Communications, Office of the Hon. MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, 819-635-3873; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca


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