$9 Billion Federal student funding – In his press briefing on April 22nd, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a $9 billion package aimed at helping post-secondary students and recent graduates facing challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also said that new student jobs and grants are also on their way. The new ‘Canada Emergency Student Benefit’ would be available from May to August of 2020. Further legislation is needed and talks are proceeding towards putting forth a Bill for the new program as soon as possible.
Many students are unable to find a summer job due to all the closures and layoffs. Recent graduates are struggling to find meaningful work in their field – and they are all concerned about how they will pay the rent and cover their basic living expenses. “COVID-19 has meant that there aren’t as many jobs out there for students, and without a job, it can be hard to pay for tuition or the day-to-day basics. You might normally have turned to your parents for help, but right now mom and dad are stretched, too,” Trudeau said in the briefing. The new Canada Emergency Student Benefit benefit plan is for those who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). It will help provide them with the financial support they need this summer, as well as help help them continue their studies in the autumn and get the experience they need to start their careers.
On the Prime Minister’s website page he writes, “The future of our economy and our country relies on the opportunities and support we provide to Canadian students today. To promote a sustainable economic recovery, we need a strong workforce and good job opportunities for young people. That means giving them the support they need to continue their studies and encouraging them to serve their communities. Together, we will get through this difficult time.” These measures include launching:
– the proposed Canada Emergency Student Benefit, which would provide support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. The benefit would be available from May to August 2020.
– the new Canada Student Service Grant, which will help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID‑19 pandemic. For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the new Canada Student Service Grant will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall.
As well, the Government of Canada will expand existing federal employment, skills development, and youth programming to create up to 116,000 jobs, placements, and other training opportunities to help students find employment and develop valuable skills this summer and over the coming months. In addition, to help students continue their studies in the fall, the government will:
– double the Canada Student Grants for all eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents would also be doubled.
– broaden eligibility for student financial assistance by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21, in recognition that many students and families will struggle to save for school this year.
– enhance the Canada Student Loans Program by raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.
– increase existing distinctions-based support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education by providing an additional $75.2 million in 2020-21.
– extend expiring federal graduate research scholarships and postdoctoral fellowships, and supplement existing federal research grants, to support students and post-doctoral fellows, by providing $291.6 million to the federal granting councils. In addition, the government intends to enhance work opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows through the National Research Council of Canada.
These programs are not only being put forth to ‘help ensure more students get the financial support they need, but the opportunities and experience many students were counting on’. The government’s initiative is very important towards the future of our youth, with hopes for the Bill to pass quickly – without too much political wrangling.