Victoria: The BC government has decided to increase financial aid for post-secondary students studying in the province.
“Access to finances shouldn’t be a barrier to preparing for an in-demand career in BC. This is an immediate-term action to make education more accessible, as we continue the work on our medium-term plans to review the post-secondary funding model and expand the BC Access Grant,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills.
“Making education more accessible and affordable is a major focus for our government and an important part of our Future Ready plan,” she added.
In a press release,the province said starting August, it will be the first increase to weekly student loan maximums since 2006. After making student loans interest-free in 2019, the BC government said it is increasing financial assistance available to students from $110 to $220 per week for single students and from $140 to $280 per week for students with dependents.
“Students applying for student financial assistance will automatically be considered for the BC Access Grant, which provides as much as $4,000 per year to students with middle and low incomes at BC’s public post-secondary institutions. The grant was launched in 2020, the first new grant program in 15 years,” the press release said.
The province said effective August, the government will change student loan repayment terms to align with the federal government’s Repayment Assistance Program, increasing the income level from $25,000 to $40,000 under which a student does not have to repay their loan, with the amount indexed to inflation.
The maximum monthly repayment amount will be lowered from 20% to 10% of household income, the province added.
“Receiving financial aid from the BC student loan program has allowed me to pursue my dream of becoming a registered nurse,” said Lois Gill, a third-year student in the bachelor of science in nursing program at Vancouver Community College.
“While completing my studies, I feel secure in my finances so I can meet my basic needs and study at the same time, while planning for my future academic goals, such as becoming a nurse practitioner,” she added.
The government said increasing weekly student loan maximums will be funded through a $151-million investment over three years in Budget 2023.