B.C. Finance Minister Carole James announced a new post-secondary grant during the revealing of the provincial government’s 2020 budget. (Tom Fletcher/News Staff)

Budget 2020: B.C. unveils new grant for students, phases out debt-relief program

For the first time, diploma, certificate students qualify for yearly post-secondary grant

The B.C. government’s 2020 budget includes the first new post-secondary grant in 15 years.

The BC Access Grant will replace a series of debt-relief completion grants for students, the provincial government unveiled in its latest budget on Tuesday.

The new grant will offer $1,000 annually for “immediate support” for students in degree, diploma and certificate programs.

The provincial grant coincides with the Canada Access Grant, together offering up to $4,000 per year per student.

READ ALSO: 800 former youth in care are using B.C.’s free post-secondary tuition program

The expansive grant will be funded with reinvested money from completion grants, which provided roughly $3,400 per year on average to about 20,000 students in the highest-cost degree programs.

The province is investing an additional $24 million over three years into the new access grants, spread among more than 40,000 college and university students.

Recipients will qualify entirely on household income with a mission to open doors for low and middle income families. This follows the 2019 decision to eliminate interest on B.C. students’ loans and other post-secondary initiatives, including the free tuition for former youth in care.

Notably, the new grant also opens to doors to shorter programs – less than two years in length – as well as part-time students.

The government’s 2019-2020 budget includes a $203-million surplus with key changes including higher tax revenues and lower refundable tax credits.

READ ALSO: Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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