aussi disponible en français
August 2, 2006
For immediate release
New Grants to Help Low-Income PEI Students Continue Post-Secondary Studies
“We are pleased that this new student financial assistance is available to lower income families,” said Prince Edward Island’s Education Minister Mildred Dover. “Cost should not be a barrier to learning and these grants will make post-secondary education more accessible to families with the greatest financial need.”
The grant announced today at the Culinary and Tourism Institute will be available to full-time students who are deemed dependent on parental support and whose parents’ combined income is approximately $41,336 or less (for a family of four). This new grant fills a gap in the existing student aid program and will assist low-income students in continuing their education. Students will be automatically considered for the grant when they apply for provincial student assistance.
“Having a well-educated and highly skilled workforce is vital if Canada is to remain prosperous in today’s world,” said The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of HRSDC. “Canada’s New Government is committed to working cooperatively with provincial and territorial governments, the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation and the learning community to enable all Canadians to access opportunities to learn and increase their skills.”
“This new grant represents a shift in the way student financial assistance is delivered in Canada, by providing resources on the basis of family income, rather than primarily on the cost of their studies,” said the Foundation’s executive director and chief executive officer Norman Riddell. “It is intended to enhance persistence in post-secondary education for students from low-income families, who are significantly under-represented in higher education.”
The $267,000-per-year program will be funded by the Foundation and delivered through Prince Edward Island Student Financial Services. This new grant comes in addition to the $1.28 million in millennium bursaries the Foundation currently distributes to more than 350 high-need Island students each year and also comes in addition to both the Canada Access Grant and the Prince Edward Island Debt Reduction Grant.
The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is a private, independent organization created by an act of Parliament in 1998. It encourages Canadian students to strive for excellence and pursue their post-secondary studies. The Foundation distributes $340 million in the form of bursaries and scholarships each year throughout Canada. Since its inception, it has awarded more than 700,000 bursaries, at a value of more than $2 billion, to Canadian post-secondary students. In Prince Edward Island, more than 2,500 bursaries were distributed over the same period of time at a value of approximately $8 million.
MILLENNIUM PEI ACCESS GRANT
What is the Millennium PEI Access Grant?
The Millennium PEI Access Grant will provide $1,000 each to dependent students from low-income families to enhance their persistence in post-secondary education. The grant will be available to second-year students who qualify for PEI student assistance. It is part of a larger research project conducted by the Foundation. The award will supplement the recipient’s student financial aid package.
What is the project’s objective?
The Foundation and the Government of Prince Edward Island have created an access grant that will focus on helping low-income post-secondary students continue their studies by mitigating their costs in the second year of their program. Moreover, the project contributes to the reduction of student debt in the province, as it fills a gap in the existing student financial assistance available to students in PEI.
The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation believes that income-based bursaries will help to improve access to post-secondary education in Canada. To date, all public student assistance has been based on a formula that calculates a student’s level of need on the basis of cost of studies and not just family income. As a result, students from low-income families, who tend to keep the cost of their studies to a minimum, often do not receive the best forms of student aid. This project will evaluate how a grant dedicated to these young Canadians affects their capacity to access and complete their post-secondary studies.
Who is eligible for the grant?
The grant is available to low-income students who:
- are enrolled as full-time students in the second year of an approved course of study of at least two years in duration;
- are deemed dependent on parental support for financing their post-secondary studies and come from a family whose combined parental income falls within the range of entitlement to the National Child Benefit Supplement (i.e., in 2005-06, $41,336 for a family of four).
How many students will receive a grant?
It is estimated that up to 267 dependent students from low-income families will receive a Millennium PEI Access Grant each year.
Why is the grant available only to second-year students?
Students from low-income families are eligible for a similar federal program, the Canada Access Grant, in their first year of studies, and PEI offers grants to Island students in their third and fourth years of study. In order to maximize the benefits of the program, the province and the Foundation have created a grant that will assist students in their second year, thereby filling in a gap in the student financial assistance available to PEI students.
How do students apply for the project?
Students who qualify for student financial assistance from Prince Edward Island Student Financial Services will be automatically considered for the Millennium PEI Access Grant. The first grants will be paid in the fall semester of 2006 and again in the winter semester for any remaining eligible students.
How much will the project cost? Who’s paying for it?
The $265,000-a-year program is designed to provide assistance to low-income students and measure the impact of bursary funding on a student’s ability to access and complete post-secondary studies. The Foundation will pay for both the bursaries and for the research component. Since the Foundation’s mandate is set to expire at the end of the 2008-09 academic year, it can only fully fund the project for three academic years.
Why is more money available now?
The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation invested the $2.5-billion endowment it received from the federal government when it was established in 1998. The returns have been greater than anticipated. It has also kept its administrative costs lower than expected. The grants come from the interest revenue earned on the initial endowment and from the administrative savings realized.
What is the project’s research component?
The Foundation is interested in measuring the impact of income-based grants on students’ access to post-secondary education and their success rate once there. As a result, it will gather qualitative and quantitative information about the impact of the Millennium PEI Access Grant on grant recipients’ ability to pursue and complete their studies.
What is the Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation?
The Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation is a private, independent organization created by an act of Parliament in 1998. It encourages Canadian students to strive for excellence and pursue their post-secondary studies. The Foundation distributes $340 million in the form of bursaries and scholarships each year throughout Canada. Since its inception, it has awarded almost $2 billion in the form of more than 625,000 bursaries to Canadian post-secondary students. In PEI, more than 2,500 bursaries were distributed over the same period of time at a value of approximately $8 million.