The Canadian Budget for 2023 was recently announced, making significant changes to the health care and housing system while post-secondary institutions saw little change to assist in the rise of tuition or in creating employment opportunities for graduates. The budget has a large focus on creating a more affordable life for residents in a post-pandemic world, creating a more affordable life for students.
A large focus for post-secondary students is federal student loans, with up to 750,000 people using these services. Part of the 2023 budget is assisting in student loan repayment to permanently eliminate interest on Canada Student Loans and Apprentice Student Loans. Students using the government’s financial assistance through loans will also see a change to loan repayment. Those who earn less than $40,000 per year will not have to make repayments on their federal student loans.
In addition to the student loan repayment changes, the federal government plans to invest $813.6 million to enhance financial assistance which includes increasing student grants by 40 per cent, raising the interest-free Canada Student Loan limit to $300 per week of study, and by waiving a credit screening for those 22 years of age and older in order to qualify for federal student loans. These new policies will allow post-secondary students to receive up to $14,400 in the upcoming school year. The budget also maintains $20,000 per year to assist students with disabilities in receiving the necessary equipment and services.
The Canadian Government also detailed a new housing project to make paying rent and purchasing homes more affordable, especially for young people. A new tax-free first home savings account will be available for Canadians to save up to $40,000 in a tax-free account for their first home. While this is a great investment for the future of young Canadians everywhere, low-income renters were also provided a $500 payment towards the cost of housing last December. The third round of the Rapid Housing Initiative also launched and is set to create 4,500 new affordable housing units for Canadians, including post-secondary students. This past Feb., the City of Edmonton announced $12.5 million in funding to create 57 new units for vulnerable residents.