A policy doubling Canada Student Grants is set to expire at the end of July 2023. The maximum aid available for full-time students through grants will drop from $6,000 to $3,000.
The grants were doubled in 2020 in response to economic pressures caused by COVID- 19.
Canadian Federation of Students national treasurer Riaz Nandan expressed his disappointment regarding the lack of a deadline extension in an email statement provided to the Manitoban.
Nandan said that students who have struggled financially during the pandemic have relied on the increased funding.
“It is disheartening to see the government continually make cuts to post-secondary education, especially when Canadian students are taking on large amounts of debt to get an education in the hopes of eventually graduating and finding a job that will help them contribute back to the economy,” Nandan said.
“We have witnessed the government use post-secondary education as a way to balance budgets, and students should not have to bear an increased debt to make up for government misspending,” Nandan explained.
Nandan added that the Canadian Federation of Students recognizes that the financial barriers associated with post-secondary education often prevent students from attending such institutions, forcing them to “abandon their aspirations.”
“It is integral for students to continue to organize ourselves nationally and be able to voice our concerns to let the government know that this is not acceptable,” he said.
The Canadian government works with most provinces and territories to provide financial assistance in the form of grants or loans to students who need funding.
The amount granted per student is variable depending on specific factors that may affect a student’s ability to pay for post-secondary education.
Such factors include the student’s province or territory of residence, whether or not they have dependents, their family income, living expenses, tuition fees and whether or not they have a disability.
In an email statement provided to the Manitoban, Eric Bench, spokesperson for provincial Minister of Advanced Education and Training Sarah Guillemard, suggested that students seek help from Manitoba Student Aid.
“The Manitoba bursary provides up-front, non-repayable grants of up to $2,000 to lower- income students and an additional $1,500 top-up is available to Indigenous students,” Bench said.
Bench said that the Manitoba Student Aid program has distributed almost $200 million in provincial and federal funding to 16,046 students from Aug. 1, 2022, to Feb. 24, 2023. He added that the program has given out over $18 million as Manitoba Bursaries and $47 million as Manitoba student loans.
The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations is running a campaign advocating to maintain the doubling of student grants called #HalfYourCSG. The organization is collecting testimonials from students on how the decreased funding will affect them.