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Thanks to significant new investments by the B.C. government, every student who applies for a student loan through StudentAidBC will now be automatically assessed for the new B.C. Access Grant.
More great news for B.C. students announced today includes increased funding for open textbooks and online educational resources (OER), and extra support for students with cognitive, mental health, or physical disabilities.
“Whether you’re a high school grad, a current student, or are returning for new skills and training, these new government supports mean the doors are wide open for you to get a post-secondary credential and pursue your dreams,” says Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training.
Today’s announcement about the streamlined B.C. Access Grant application process is welcome news to students concerned about continuing their education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Introduced in February 2020, the B.C. Access Grant offers up to $4,000 of non-repayable funding per year to low- and middle-income students in B.C. post-secondary certificate, diploma, or degree programs. As requested by student groups, these grants are now available to students at the beginning of their studies to help with up-front tuition costs. The B.C. Access grant is gradually replacing the B.C. Completion Grant and others that awarded funds following the completion of a post-secondary program.
Increased funding ($275,000) was also announced today that will support BCcampus to build up its selection of online courses, support services, and Open Textbooks. Over 310 free textbooks, supplementary manuals, and guides are currently available. These materials are the result of calls to action from students wishing to reduce education expenses.
The new funding will specifically help BCcampus expand its selection of webinars and videos on topics such as adapting to online learning, building resilience, stress management, and understanding financial supports. These webinars, launched in April 2020, will run regularly into 2021 with sessions available to students, faculty, and staff.
As the COVID-19 pandemic forces us to adjust our lives and learning styles, it’s also important to make sure that students with disabilities aren’t left behind. Thanks to additional funding ($1.5 million to be shared by 20 B.C. public post-secondary institutions), the government has announced extra efforts to develop or build upon supports for physical disabilities to create the conditions they need to succeed.
“The financial grants and open education resources that the B.C. government has announced today are welcome news to post-secondary students. This support is critical to providing easier access to the necessary courses and programs students require to get their credentials, achieve their career goals and contribute positively to our economy and society,” says Fillette Umulisa, Lansdowne Campus executive, Camosun College Student Society.
To request learning accommodations due to a disability, please contact VCC Disability Services to speak with a helpful advisor.