AMS Applauds BC Government’s Creation of the BC Access Grant

The Alma Mater Society (AMS) of UBC is excited to see that the provincial government is taking steps to make education more affordable and accessible through the BC Access Grant

Victoria, BC, February 18, 2020 – Today during the reading of the 2020 BC Budget, the government announced the creation of an up-front, needs-based grant program for post-secondary students. The new BC Access Grant will replace existing completion grants and expand eligibility to the program, providing up to $1,000 a year for students in four-year programs and up to $4,000 a year for part-time students and those in programs that are two years or less.

According to recent government figures, the average undergraduate student in the province will finish university with $11,200 in BC student loan debt. When combined with federal student loan debt, the burden on graduates is around $28,000 and educational costs are only getting higher. With 77% of all jobs in the next 10 years requiring post-secondary education, it will increasingly become a necessity for young people to take on debt to get their education so the government must act now to create the systems that lessen this burden. The creation of this up-front grant will mean that students will immediately see barriers lowered to accessing post-secondary education across the province because they’re receiving funding when they need it the most.

“The creation of the BC Access Grant will have an immediate impact on students starting next year who rely on financial aid to access their education,” says Cristina Ilnitchi, AMS VP of External Affairs. “ The Grant will double the students who need this funding the most to become eligible to receive it. It’s a very exciting step towards affordable post-secondary education and important recognition from the provincial government that they must take action to alleviate the difficult financial situations students face during their studies.”

This is the first time in fifteen years that students in BC will have access to provincial grants. The AMS has advocated for several years with partner organizations to see increased non-repayable aid and the redirection of completion grants to up-front grants. We are excited to see this provincial government listening to student advocates, as the end beneficiaries of these programs. This will not only affect present students but future individuals will see post-secondary education as an affordable and accessible option for them to continue their education.

Today’s step forward is a celebration for students across the province and a recognition of the importance of supporting students pursuing further education. The AMS looks forward to seeing the provincial government continue to listen to student consultation to make post-secondary education more accessible for all students.