Edmonton, AB - The University of Alberta Students’ Union (UASU) and the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) are pleased with the comprehensive student aid package announced today by the Government of Canada. The package will bring significant relief to all students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and will provide valuable support to at-risk students and recent graduates who need it most.
“This announcement is great news for current students, new students, and recent graduates who are facing financial difficulties, particularly those who were left ineligible for support programs announced previously by the federal government ,” said Adam Brown, Chair of CASA and Vice-President (External) of the UASU. “It is clear that the government cares about students, and has been listening to our needs and concerns during this unprecedented time.”
Today’s announcement expands the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 response by providing a generous $9 billion aid package to postsecondary students and recent graduates. Under the new package, students and recent graduates who do not qualify for the existing Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be eligible for another Emergency Student Benefit worth up to $1,750 per month in relief. In addition, the government has also committed to doubling the Canada Student Grant for the 2020-21 academic year, along with an increase in Canada Student Loans that will bring weekly allowances from $210 to $350. The government has also pledged to invest an additional $75 million in the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, Metis Education Strategy, and Inuit Education Strategy. Further, $291 million in funding has been committed to the Canada Granting Agency to allow for student researcher extensions. Today’s announcement also commits to creating the new Canada Student Service Grant which will provide up to $5,000 to students who volunteer for a set number of hours during the pandemic.
“This kind of comprehensive aid package is key to ensuring that all Canadian students and recent graduates are protected during this pandemic, ready to return to classes and the workplace once physical distancing measures are reduced,” Brown continued. “Today’s announcement includes much-needed immediate financial relief for students and recent graduates who do not qualify for the CERB, while also making sure that students are able to access and afford their education moving forward.”
The UASU and CASA have been committed to ensuring that the federal government safeguards the future by protecting students during the COVID-19 pandemic. We had previously called upon the federal government to provide serious relief for students by: Establishing an Emergency Response Benefit stream for students and new graduates, increasing the Canada Student Grant for low- and middle-income students, waiving the requirement for the fixed student contribution, permitting international students to travel to Canada in September 2020, and extending the research funding for student research funding issued by Canada’s Granting Agencies. The UASU and CASA applaud the Government of Canada for taking action on our specific recommendations.
The Students’ Union is the official representative of more than 32,000 undergraduate students at the University of Alberta. It acts as a strong advocate for students both on campus and at all levels of government.
For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact:
External Advocacy Advisor
University of Alberta Students’ Union
The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations (CASA) is a national voice for Canada’s post-secondary students. Established in 1995, CASA is a non-partisan, not-for-profit student organization composed of student associations from across Canada. We represent 24 student associations, representing 380,000 students to the federal government of Canada. CASA advocates for a post-secondary education system in Canada that is accessible, affordable, innovative and of the highest quality.
Communications and Public Relations Officer