Students who apply for a loan through StudentAid BC will now be automatically assessed for the new non-repayable B.C. Access Grant.
The up-front grant will enable 40,000 low and middle-income students – about twice as many students supported under previous grants – to access more affordable public post-secondary education. Students who are approved for the BC Access Grant will receive up to $4,000 a year to help with the up-front cost of programs leading to a certification, diploma or degree.
The province also announced a $2.175 million investment to better help support post-secondary students, with $1.5 million to be shared by 20 public post-secondary institutions throughout B.C. to develop or build upon supports for students with cognitive, mental health or physical disabilities.
Additionally, the government is also providing $275,000 to BCcampus to develop online resources and tools for students, staff and faculty to help navigate topics surrounding well-being. The new resources include a website, videos and webinars on various issues such as adapting to online learning, building resilience, stress management and understanding financial supports. BCcampus will run the webinars regularly into 2021, with sessions being recorded, transcribed and hosted on the BCcampus website.
The province will also be adding to the OpenEd Resources on BCcampus. Over 310 textbooks, supplementary manuals and guides are now available for free through B.C.’s Open Textbook collection.
Work is also being done to create fully developed OER courses and support services for a broad range of the most popular courses.
B.C.’s Labour Market Outlook predicts that within the next 10 years, 861,000 jobs – ranging from trades and technology to tourism and health care – will need to be filled. Some level of post-secondary education or training is likely to be needed for up to 80 per cent of the openings.