New B.C. Access Grant makes life more affordable for students

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A college or university education will be more affordable for thousands of students who are eligible for up to $4,000 per year through the new B.C. Access Grant program.

“The new B.C. Access Grant will break down financial barriers and enable thousands more students to get a college or university education in their chosen fields,” said Premier John Horgan. “It’s part of our government’s work to build a strong economy for everyone, where people can get good, well-paying jobs that support them and their families, and business can access more skilled workers.”

The new, needs-based B.C. Access Grant will target those who need it most: low- and middle-income students. Students will receive the grant at the beginning of their studies so they can pay for tuition, textbooks, lab supplies and other items needed for their program of study.

For the first time, this funding will be available for students in programs under two years in length, including certificate and diploma programs, as well as for part-time students. The changes nearly double the number of students eligible for support.

“Students have been calling for this moment for almost two decades,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “The new grant will open doors to post-secondary education for thousands of British Columbians who were shut out for far too long. This is a game changer that will benefit students who need it the most, especially with their up-front costs like tuition and books. I am so proud that our government is investing in the next generation of students.”

The B.C. Access Grant complements the Canada Student Grant for Full-time Students, ensuring B.C. students attending public post-secondary institutions receive up to $4,000 a year to help with the cost of programs leading to a certificate, diploma or degree.

Government is investing $24 million in new funding over three years. This is in addition to approximately $37 million that government is reinvesting from existing grant programs that do not help students with the up-front costs of their post-secondary education.

More than 40,000 low- and middle-income students will be eligible for the new B.C. Access Grant, which will be available starting in the fall 2020 semester.

Improving access and reducing the cost of post-secondary education for students are shared priorities between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and are part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quick Facts:

  • This is the first new investment in post-secondary student grants in 15 years.
  • Students will automatically be assessed for their eligibility for the B.C. Access Grant when they apply for financial assistance from StudentAidBC.
  • Eligible students in programs that are under two years in length will receive up to $4,000 per year.
  • Eligible students in programs that are two years or longer will receive up to $1,000 per year.
    • These students may also be eligible for the Canada Student Grant for Full-time Students of up to $3,000 per year.
  • The funds may be used for tuition, living expenses or any eligible education-related costs students may have while working on their post-secondary education.

Learn More:

For more information on the new B.C. Access Grant: