News gets better for students applying for financial aid in Alberta.
Adrienne Shumlich/the Gauntlet

Update: student aid gets more accessible in Alberta

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The Alberta government has introduced several changes to the student aid program to decrease financial barriers encountered by post-secondary students.
According to the provincial government’s website, the enhancements will make it easier for university students to reach their educational goals. All changes will be effective August 1.

The new changes include the introduction of grants designed to keep workers and students in the province. If students who took out loans complete their education, they will potentially receive a completion grant of up to $2,000 upon graduation.

A retention grant will also be introduced, which will give about $1,000 to graduates who remain in the province for three years, however, the professions included in this program have not yet been announced.

According to the website, the Alberta 2012 budget has a strong investment in Alberta’s students.

“We don’t want costs preventing Alberta’s students from pursuing their dreams,” said Minister of Advanced Education and Technology Greg Weadick in a press release. “Budget 2012 reflects our ongoing commitment to making post-secondary education accessible and affordable and to encourage graduates to make their degree work right here in Alberta.”

The provincial government has removed parental earnings, savings and part-time earnings when determining loan eligibility. They have also introduced a flat-rate $1,500 student contribution which students must be able to bring to the table when applying for loans.

“We are always looking at improving our student aid program so that it is more accessible for students who need it and so we can continue to provide flexible repayment options upon graduation,” said Weadick.