Camrose, AB – The Honourable Kevin Sorenson, Minister of State (Finance) and Member of Parliament (Crowfoot) is advising constituents that following consultations with stakeholders the Conservative Government is planning to expand eligibility for Canada Student Grants for students from low- and middle-income families enrolled in short-duration educational programs. Sorenson says, “This is good news for families throughout our riding and across Canada. Our government’s top priority is creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians and expanding the Canada Student Grants Program is expected to extend the program to approximately 42,000 additional students per year, including approximately 22,000 students at private career colleges.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated that his intention is to make post-secondary education more accessible to students in low- and middle-income families. It will also help Canadians acquire or upgrade their skills, making it easier to enter the workforce.
Beginning in 2016-2017, Canada Student Grants will be made available to qualifying low- and middle-income students enrolled in educational programs with a minimum duration of 34 weeks. Currently, students must be enrolled in an educational program with a minimum duration of 60 weeks to qualify.
The Government of Canada invests over $10 billion annually in post-secondary education, which includes providing students with financial assistance such as Canada Student Grants. The Harper government created the Canada Student Grants Program in 2009. Students do not have to pay back Canada Student Grants. In 2012-2013, nearly 357,000 students received a total of $695 million in Canada Student Grants. This was an increase of 6.1 per cent when compared to the number of students who received grants in 2011-2012. The grants currently provide payments for the duration of the educational program of $250 per month of full-time study for low-income students and $100 per month of full-time study for middle-income students.
Sorenson concludes, “Canada places at the top of the rankings of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in terms of post-secondary educational attainment, in part due to federal supports for students. Canada has one of the highest youth employment rates among its peers in the OECD.