Post-secondary students across the country have felt the full force of the COVID-19 pandemic and require the federal government’s continued support to ensure they succeed. While substantive investments have recently been made in supports like the Canada Student Grant and the Student Loans Repayment Assistance Program, more is needed to support those unable to access these investments.
Additionally, many students continue to struggle with the auxiliary costs of attending post-secondary, such as paying for a computer, Internet, and textbooks. Thus, the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations has developed a suite of recommendations that aim to support Canadian students ineligible for supports such as the Canada Student Grant, while also building a more innovative and affordable post-secondary system that can keep up with Canada’s changing labour market needs.
Summary of recommendations:
1. Create an up-front, non-repayable Canada Student Grant for graduate students with financial need at an estimated cost of $58 million per year.
2. Amend the disbursement dates of the Apprenticeship Incentive Grants to provide up-front support to apprentices as they begin their in-study periods.
3. Increase the computer and computer-related costs maximum within the CSFA Program’s needs-assessment to $750 per loan year.
4. Create a pilot program within the Canada Research Granting Agencies, at an estimated cost of $10 million annually, that provides grant funding to graduate students and post-secondary faculty to develop innovative and affordable OERs that would be available in both official languages.
5. Ensure the Canada Research Granting Agencies prioritize Open Access formats for knowledge mobilization of funded academic work.