The Canada Student Loans Program (CSLP), which provides loans and grants to post-secondary students with financial need, has a complex set of criteria for determining one’s eligibility. One such criteria, known as the assessment of borrower assets, required applicants to submit the value of their vehicle alongside other assets. In determining a student’s eligibility for a loan, CSLP counted these assets against them. As a result, students who owned vehicles were unfairly awarded less financial aid, or in some cases, refused a loan entirely. Those students who relied on their vehicle to get to class were especially harmed by this policy.
For these reasons, CASA advocated against this practice. To our excitement, Budget 2014 announced that the value of a single vehicle would be exempted from the CSLP assessment of borrower assets. This change marked an increase in student financial assistance by nearly $8 million per year and helps over 19,000 students annually!
CASA is proud to have played such an integral role in establishing the vehicle exemption. In addition to being the only organization to make this recommendation in Ottawa, the clear similarities between CASA’s and the government’s wording demonstrate that our student members were heard loud and clear.