Students attending post-secondary institutions in the Interior have access to emergency assistance funding to help them cope with financial pressures caused by COVID-19.

“This emergency financial assistance provides an important safety net for students to ensure they have the funds to focus on continuing their education,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “We know that pursuing post-secondary education can be challenging and stressful at any time, and particularly during a pandemic. That’s why we are taking steps to make sure students facing unexpected circumstances can access financial help.”

Since March 2020, post-secondary institutions in the Interior have received a combined total of $1,683,500 to assist students, including Indigenous students, who are experiencing an unexpected financial emergency that may affect their ability to complete their studies and handle expenses, especially those related to COVID-19:

  • College of the Rockies - $319,000
  • Nicola Valley Institute of Technology - $346,000
  • Okanagan College - $251,000
  • Selkirk College - $334,500
  • Thompson Rivers University - $433,000

The non-repayable emergency assistance can be used to help with a broad range of costs, including living expenses, food, travel, portable computers and other supports for students who are returning to campuses for 2021-22. This emergency funding is part of $9 million invested since March 2020 to help B.C. post-secondary students.

Students who attend one of B.C.’s 25 public post-secondary institutions, as well as the Native Education College and students enrolled in post-secondary programs at Indigenous institutes, may apply to access these funds by contacting their school’s financial aid office or Indigenous student service centre.

Quotes:

Brittny Anderson, MLA for Nelson-Creston –

“People studying at the College of the Rockies and Selkirk College have been dealing with all the added challenges brought on by the pandemic this year. I hope they’re relieved to know that if they run into financial challenges, this fund is available to assist them and allow them to focus on their studies.”

Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee –

“The pandemic has created new challenges for everyone, including students at post-secondary institutions across the Interior. We don’t want to see anyone in a position where financial challenges can mean the difference between leaving school or paying rent, and that’s why we’re making sure this fund will be available for another school year.”

A backgrounder follows.