The federal government just released its new federal budget and some changes have been made that may affect students at Athabasca University receiving loans. Some of these changes will be exciting for students
For one thing, the budget proposes to lower the interest rates on student loans. I think this would be a great thing since most students end up in debt by the time they are done school and it can be unmanageable. In addition to lowering rates, the federal government will also allow students to have a six-month grace period so that the loans will remain interest-free after graduation. This will help make life easier for students. There will also be changes for the students with disabilities. The government plans to invest 15 million over five years to “modernize the Canada Student Loans Program” (Budget, online), which will help vulnerable students such as those on disability.
Previously, if a student with a disability had been out of study for five years, they couldn’t receive further loans until the ones they’ve already taken out have been paid in full. These changes will help make it easier for them to return to school after a long absence. This spending will increase supports for students with permanent disabilities (Charlatan, online). On top of that, money will also go towards introducing a new interest-free and payment-free medical and parental leave for students with loans (Budget, online). By doing this they give students who have children a break.
When it comes to young people in general, the budget hopes to help newly skilled workers get jobs. They are proposing to help young Canadians by creating “up to 40,000 new work placements per year by 2023–24” (Budget, online). Through work-integrated learning, they hope that young people will gain new skills and work experience sooner than ever. As most people know, it is hard to get a job without experience, and it hard to get experience without a job in the right position to gain that experience. I think this move is great. This plan allows young people to gain real-world experience through work placements and hopefully building new opportunities and partnerships.
And there are more changes to parental leave and students, the new budget will also expand parental leave coverage for “post-secondary students and postdoctoral fellows, from six months to 12 months” (Budget, online). In addition, the budget proposes an international education strategy which will invest “$147.9 million over five years and $8.0 million per year ongoing” to help “more Canadian students participate in study, work and travel opportunities abroad, as well as invest in promotional activities” (Budget, online). For the housing strategy, they plan to invest $40-billion to help make housing more safe and affordable for those in need. In Canada, about 1.7 million households are living in homes that are inadequate or unaffordable. A shocking statistic for some. Many people will benefit from this funding.
With all these changes to student life, we hope that it will make a difference. Canada seems to be promoting education and young people (as well as seniors and families) in this new budget.