By Usman Rizwan
Alberta post-secondary students might have an easier time acquiring a student loan this year because of recent changes to the Alberta Student Finance program.
According to the changes made to the province’s student financial program in February 2012, post-secondary students in Alberta will no longer have to report their parental or spousal income or their part-time earning on their student loan application. Previously, students were rejected for financial aid based on their parental or spousal income.
“We are happy to see the government taking action by getting more aid to students,” said Zack Moline, Chair of the Council of Alberta University Students and president of the University of Lethbridge Students’ Union, in a press release.
Other changes to the student financial program include streamlining applications so that students only have to deal with one organization called Student Aid Alberta.
Students no longer have to pay interest during their six month grace period, however the changes don’t affect the interest rate that students pay on their loans.
“We’ve asked for these changes for a while, as they should allow more students to qualify for loans. But we must keep working to ensure students receiving loans are not crippled by debt after studies,” said Moline.
Fourth-year fine arts student Hannah Perry thinks the changes are positive.
“I do know people who have parents who make a lot of money but don’t support or pay for their education and these people can’t get loans, or get less money, because their parents earn more.”