The provincial government is streamlining the application process for Manitoba Student Aid and Manitoba Bursary to help more low-income and Indigenous students access funding, Education and Training Minister Ian Wishart announced today.
“We’re introducing a simplified user-friendly service model that is more predictable so students can save and budget accordingly,” said Wishart. “With easier access to loans and bursaries, we expect more students to enrol in post-secondary education, which opens doors to success. Plus, students can continue to work while they’re in school, as we will no longer scale back loans or bursaries because of employment.”
The province plans to distribute up to $8.6 million in additional loans for the 2018-19 program year. Based on changes by the federal government to the Canada Student Loan program, the province is implementing the following changes:
- a fixed student contribution rate for student loans and grants,
- a three-year Skills Boost pilot program to top-up adult learners with $200 per month, and
- an exclusion of First Nations band funding as part of the student financial assessment so more Indigenous students are eligible for grants.
The fixed contribution model requires students to pay a set amount between $1,500 and $3,000 per academic year, based on income. The former system required students to estimate their earnings and financial assets to determine their contribution, which was time-consuming and required substantial document verification.
“We welcome these changes to Manitoba Student Aid, which will help us provide more support directly to more students,” said Dr. Steven Robinson, interim president of Brandon University. “As enrolment at Brandon University continues to climb, it’s more important than ever to invest in student supports, such as bursaries. This is excellent news for students.”
Students who apply for Manitoba Student Aid are automatically considered for Manitoba Bursary, an upfront grant up to $2,000 per school year available to low-income students, as well as the federal Canada Student Grant of up to $3,000.
The province is increasing Manitoba Bursary by $2.7 million to a total of $13.2 million this academic year by redirecting underused bursaries and grants to be distributed more equitably among students. This includes:
- $1 million for a top-up grant ($500 to $1,500) to approximately 750 low-income Indigenous students this upcoming school year; and
- $1.7 million to expand eligibility to approximately 150 students at Manitoba’s private religious institutions and 900 out-of-province students at Canadian institutions, of which $870,000 will be used to increase bursary amounts to student aid recipients as a result of the fixed contribution model.