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COVID-19 financial relief: 8 opportunities for students and recent grads

Two groups that have arguably been hardest hit by COVID-19 are students and recent grads. The rolling lockdowns have made it difficult for some students to find part-time work that would help pay their tuition. Likewise, some new grads are also struggling with job placement since there are limited full-time jobs available. According to Statistics Canada, 58% of students surveyed were very or extremely concerned about losing their jobs in the future. And, 67% of that group felt extremely concerned about having no job prospects.

The good news is—despite the disruptions to academic life and typical job placement for recent grads—young people can be a resilient lot. There are also some programs available that can benefit students and new job seekers—if you know where to look. Below are eight opportunities young people can take advantage of to help get through these uncertain economic times.

1. Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) extended

The Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) has been a lifeline for many Canadians during the pandemic, and some students may qualify. To be eligible, you must have earned at least $5,000 in 2019, 2020, or in the last 12 months. This amount does not include any money made from loans, grants, bursaries, or scholarships. If you’re eligible, you will get $600 ($540 after taxes) for a two-week period, up to 25 periods. The Government of Canada has proposed a 12-week extension for CRB during a recent budget announcement. Check the Government of Canada site for updates.

2. Student grants double

During the recent budget update, the government of Canada announced that they would be doubling Canada Student Grants until 2023. That means full-time students can receive a maximum of $6,000, while part-time students can get $3,600. In addition, anyone who qualifies for Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependants will also see their grants doubled.

3. Student loans halt interest

As of April 1, 2021, no interest is being charged to anyone that has Canada Student Loans or Canada Apprentice Loans. The government has already announced that they want to keep this in place until at least March of 2023. This will help many students and recent grads manage their budget until they land a job.

4. Repayment Assistance Plan eases debt obligations

During the 2021 budget announcement, the Government of Canada said they plan on making the task of repaying student loans less burdensome. Anyone earning less than $40,000 a year will not need to make any payments. In addition, loan payments will never exceed more than 10 percent of your household income. This is a significant change to the current Repayment Assistance Plan requirements, so there will be less pressure on new grads to immediately pay off their loans.

5. Student Work Placement Program gives grads an edge

The Student Work Placement Program is specifically aimed at post-secondary students that are looking for work experience related to their field of study. Employers get wage subsidies if they can offer quality student work placements. The employers are partnered with colleges and universities, so they can recruit students directly for open positions. This program is excellent for students looking for mentorship, co-op placements, practicums, and internships.

6. Youth Futures Education Fund extends opportunities

  1. Youth Futures Education Fund

The Youth Futures Education Fund provides low-barrier access to funds to support living expenses for youth who have aged out of government care and are attending a post-secondary institution on a tuition waiver. Collaboratively established by Coast Capital, The Province of British Columbia, and the Office of the Representative for Children and Youth, the Youth Futures Education Fund supports former youth in care in BC with access to funding to support the purchase of books, supplies, rent, food, and other wrap-around expenses while attending post-secondary.

To determine if you are eligible for support, connect with the identified contact at your post-secondary institution (as seen on the Youth Futures Education Fund website).

7. Student banking plans start you off on the right footing

Many financial institutions have student banking packages that can help you manage your finances, allowing you to focus on your studies. For instance, Coast Capital offers access to bank accounts that are fit for student life and can help you save, as well as credit cards that could help you build your credit score. Products include free chequing, free debit, and more. Additionally, you may qualify for a student line of credit that could help you pay for your tuition, rent, and textbooks.

There’s no denying that the global pandemic has affected students and new grads particularly hard. These incentives have been created with exactly that in mind. Taking advantage of available programs can help you recover as the world starts to head into COVID-19 recovery itself.

Visit Coast Capital’s Student Banking Hub for more information.

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