Crystal Schick/Yukon News file Yukon MP Larry Bagnell spoke to the News about new funding to help post secondary students throught the COVID-19 pandemic.

New student COVID-19 relief benefit to be rolled out

Student benefit still needs approval from Parliament

The federal government has announced new financial help for students struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The News spoke with the Yukon MP Larry Bagnell on April 23 to go over the new programs announced on April 22.

This new funding offers approximately $9 billion to help students.

Bagnell said some of the funding announced will require the approval of Parliament.

One of the main parts of the plan is to introduce a Canada Emergency Student Benefit, offering $1,250 per month to eligible students from May 1 to Aug. 31.

“That’s for the students who fall through the cracks and for new graduates who graduated from 2019,” Bagnell said.

Students can still have up to $1,000 in income and qualify. Should the student have any dependents, the student benefit can go as high as $1,750 per month.

The Canadian Emergency Student Benefit will still need to go through parliament.

He also said up to 40,000 graduates who are now doing research will be getting assistance.

These students will benefit from $290 million split between three federal grant agencies tasked with providing research money to students doing graduate research scholarships and post-doctorate scholarships who would otherwise be running out of funding.

The new grants are designed to cover the period from March to the end of August and allow research to continue for another semester.

“That will help the graduates continue on their work,” Bagnell said.

In order to help students go back to school in September, there is also a need-based federal student grant designed for low-income students. The maximum grant amount has increased from $3,000 to $7,000.

Student loan caps are also set to rise from the current $210 per week to $350 per week. Bagnell said approximately 700,000 students in Canada utilize student loans, with an estimated 70 per cent lower income.

The federal government has also instituted the Canada Student Service Grant for students who are volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic. If approved, students could receive a $1,000 to $5,000 grant. The details on this grant have yet to be released.

This new funding is in addition to other previously-announced measures.

Student loans remain suspended until Sept. 30 with no interest accruing over that time.

Some students are eligible for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), provided they lost a part-time job due to the pandemic and made a minimum of $5,000 in 2019. CERB will also cover students who lost seasonal jobs.

Bagnell said the Canadian Summer Student Jobs Program would remain as it was last year. The program is for people ages 15 to 30 and the federal government will pay 100 per cent of the students’ wage, up to the province or territory’s minimum wage.

There is also a plan to create additional jobs on top of what is currently available through the subsidy and summer jobs programs, he said, with the goal of creating 116,000 extra jobs for youth through existing federal employment programs, youth programs and skill development programming. He added that 76,000 of these would be for front-line jobs in places like long-term care facilities and grocery stores that need help.

“We’ll create more jobs in those areas,” Bagnell said.

Contact Gord Fortin at gord.fortin@yukon-news.com

Post-secondary Education

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