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Federal Government Announces COVID-19 Student Support Package

The federal government just announced a $9 billion student aid package to help post-secondary students in Canada who are impacted by COVID-19. You can view the news release about this online here or visit the Government of Canada website here.

AUSU is a proud member of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, which recently put forward specific asks to the Federal government to provide more supports for students, including an emergency response benefit for students and new graduates, an increase to student grants, research grant deadline extensions, and waiving fixed student contributions to access financial assistance for 2020-2021. We are very happy to see the government commit to further supports to help students through this difficult pandemic.

Information about these supports will be available on the Government of Canada’s Economic Response Page here.

Thank you to the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations for the following breakdown of the federal student supports.

New Supports Announced Feb 22, 2020:

  • Canada Emergency Student Benefit
    • The Canada Emergency Student Benefit will be a $1,250 taxable benefit for post-secondary students who are unable to work due to COVID-19.
    • Eligibility
      • Enrolled in a post-secondary institution in the 2019-2020 year
      • Planned to work in the summer of 2020
    • There is also a $500 top-up, bringing total supports to $1750 for a student in any of the following situations:
      • Has a disability
      • Has children or dependents
    • Much like other CERB benefits, students will be eligible to make up to $1,000 a month.
    • Students already receiving CERB will be ineligible for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit.
  • Amendments to the Canada Student Loan Program
    • The Canada Student Grant will be doubled for the 2020-2021 academic year.
    • This will bring the grant from $3,000 for a low-income student to $6,000.
    • This grant is still eligible for top ups from the Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities and the Canada Student Grant for Students with Dependents
    • Weekly loan maximums will be increasing from $210 to $350 a week.
    • This loan maximum has not increased since 2004.
    • Eligibility for the Canada Student Loan Program will be broadened.
    • Student and Spousal contributions will be removed.
  • Indigenous Student Supports
    • $75 million in additional funds for the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, Metis Education Strategy, and Inuit Education Strategy.
  • Canada Student Service Grant
    • Students who volunteer for a set number of hours will be eligible for a grant up to $5000.
  • Research Grant Deadlines
    • $291 million committed to allow extensions of Canada Granting Agency funding for 3 to 4 months for student researchers.

Previous Federal COVID-19 Supports:

  • Canada Student Loans — Effective March 30, 2020, repayment on all Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprenticeship Loans will be paused, interest-free, until September 30, 2020.
  • Canada Emergency Response Benefit — To help working students, the Government of Canada is offering $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This benefit will be offered to Canadian residents who have an income greater than $5,000 in 2019, or in the past 12 months.
  • Personal Income Tax Deferrals — The Canada Revenue Agency is deferring the final due date for personal income tax filings until June 1, 2020. The CRA will also allow individuals to pay their personal income tax balances until August 31, 2020.
  • Canada Summer Jobs — Provides 70,000 jobs per year. Four main alterations to the existing Canada Summer Jobs program: It plans to increase the wage subsidy so that employers can receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee, extend the end date for employment to February 28, 2021, allow employers to hire staff on a part-time basis, and allow employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services.

You can view CASA’s press release about the federal student support announcement online here.

For information on academic support available to Athabasca University students, visit our COVID-19 page here.

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