A new bursary will provide $15 million over three years to help low-income Albertans pursue higher education.
The New Beginnings Bursary will increase access to post-secondary education for students who face financial barriers. A total of 1,000 bursaries a year valued at $5,000 each will help recipients pay for tuition, fees, supplies and living costs beginning in the 2022-23 academic year.
Supports will be available to students studying in key economic sectors identified in Alberta’s Recovery Plan, including energy, agriculture and forestry, tourism, culture, technology, aerospace and aviation, finance and financial technology.
“Cost should never be a barrier to achieving your ambition. Young Albertans deserve to have the right skills and knowledge to succeed in tomorrow’s economy,” said Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides, in a statement.
“The New Beginnings Bursary will be just that for many Albertans: ensuring post-secondary education remains an accessible way to get ahead.”
Samantha Scott, chair of the Council of Alberta University Students, said that “given the critical importance of post-secondary in accessing high-quality and high-paying jobs, the Council of Alberta University Students is pleased to see this tangible investment into supporting Alberta students.
“We recognize the crucial nature of supporting low-income students in accessing higher education and look forward to making sure those students are continually advocated for.”
Alberta Students’ Executive Council (ASEC) chair Savannah Snow said students applaud the government help.
“As students are increasingly becoming burdened by the rising cost of living, this investment in accessibility is appreciated and well-timed,” said Snow, who is also Red Deer Polytechnic Students’ Association president. “This funding will empower students, providing opportunities for those who would have normally missed out.
“We look forward to further collaborating with the government to ensure affordable education is available to all students coming through the post-secondary system of Alberta.”
The bursary will begin supporting students in the 2022-23 academic year and will not have to be repaid as a typical loan would be. Alberta Student Aid will deliver funding automatically to student loan recipients who meet the eligibility criteria and have applied for funding for this term.
ASEC represents more than 110,000 college, polytechnic, and university students from 17 members across Alberta.