Post-secondary students will see their loan interest temporarily waived and receive additional student aid under the new federal budget.
The 2021 Federal Budget will double the Canada Student Grant program for two years, allotting to $6,000 per school year in non-refundable tuition aid. Additionally, interest on student loans will be waived until March 31, 2023.
“Education is the smartest investment anyone can make,” the budget document said. “[Waiving student loan interest] would mean savings for approximately 1.5 million Canadians repaying student loans, the majority of whom are women.”
The government also announced they will create 215,000 additional “job skill development and work opportunities” by increasing funding to federal job placement programs such as Canada Summer Jobs.
Student debt relief plan includes enhanced repayment assistance
In addition to waiving student loan interest for an additional year, the government will also expand the threshold for loan repayment assistance.
Previously, borrowers could make up to $25,000 per year before they stopped receiving support. A borrower living alone can now make up to $40,000 before they would need to make payments on their loan.
This new income cut-off will be extended with inflation.
New benefits for students with temporary disabilities
The budget also expands access to supports for students with disabilities.
While grants and student loan repayment assistance are already available to students with permanent disabilities, now, those with temporary disabilities will also have access to the same supports: up to $22,000 in grants, specialized repayment assistance, and in-study supports.
This change is estimated to benefit about 40,000 students each year.
Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) “pleased” with student aid package
The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA), said they were “pleased with the comprehensive student aid package” in a statement sent out after the budget’s release.
Bryn de Chastelain, CASA chair and Saint Mary’s student, said that the budget will “provide security for many.”
“Since the beginning of this pandemic … many students have been left strained and worried about their futures,” he said in the CASA statement.
“The investments in job creation … is an excellent way to ensure that students are ready, and have the opportunity, to enter the labour market and meaningfully contribute to Canada’s economic growth.”