COVID-19 Response Information

Updated June 14, 2021

StudentAid BC has responded to COVID-19 by providing emergency student financial assistance to support students, borrowers and post-secondary institutions.

For public health and safety guidance on COVID-19, please visit the B.C Government page: Post-secondary studies during COVID-19.

If you are in need of mental health support, please visit Here2Talk.ca which provides free, confidential counselling and community referral services, available 24/7 via app, phone and web.

For additional information on how StudentAid BC has been working to support students and borrowers impacted by COVID-19, please see the sections below.

Updated April 22, 2021

Please note that while the following emergency benefits are now fully allocated, StudentAid BC continues to support students during the COVID-19 pandemic with available needs-based and targeted student financial assistance.

Provincial benefits:

  • Since March 2020, the B.C. government has provided $9 million to assist students throughout British Columbia who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic:
    • $1.5 million in 2020 and $1 million in 2021 for the Indigenous Emergency Assistance Fund, including $150,000 to assist post-secondary students at Indigenous institutes across B.C.
    • $3.5 million in 2020 and $3 million in 2021 for the Student Emergency Assistance Fund at public post-secondary institutions. In 2020, that funding supported approximately 5,400 B.C. domestic students.
  • Student loan repayments were temporarily suspended from March 30 to September 30, 2020. During this time interest did not accrue on the federal portion of the Canada-B.C. integrated student loan (the B.C. portion of the loan is interest-free). Regular monthly payments resumed in October 2020 and federal interest began to accrue on October 1, 2020. If you think you may need continued support with loan repayment, please visit Get help with Repayment.
  • Students seeking access to emergency assistance funding should contact their school’s financial aid office.

Federal benefits:

The federal government provided COVID-19 support for students and recent graduates, including:

Students do not need to declare these benefits as targeted resources on their StudentAid BC applications for student financial assistance.

Updated June 14, 2021

Government of Canada Supports:

To help students continue their studies, the Government of Canada has extended the following student financial assistance measures until the end of July 2023:

  • doubled Canada Student Grants for full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students.
  • doubled Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependants.

Effective April 2021, the Government of Canada has suspended the accumulation of interest on Canada Student Loans until March 31, 2022. Subject to federal Parliament approval, the Government of Canada has proposed to extend this measure until March 31, 2023.

Updated March 16, 2021

StudentAid BC has made the following process changes to support continued delivery of service:

Correspondence and Document Submission Changes:

  • To ensure timely document processing, please submit documents and correspondence though your StudentAid BC dashboard account or submit by email to StudentAidBC@gov.bc.ca (excluding those requiring an ink signature).
  • At this time, an exception has been made to accept signed part-time student financial assistance applications via document upload or email.

Streamlined Appeal Process for Current Year Income

  • The appeal process for student financial assistance applications to be reassessed based on current year income has been streamlined with a single Income Appeal form. This new form replaces the Appeal for Parent/Step-Parent, Sponsor or Legal Guardian Contribution and the Appeal for Student or Spouse/Common-Law Partner Contribution.

Updated March 16, 2021

Interruption of Study Policy:

StudentAid BC Interruption of Study policy is intended to extend needs-based student financial assistance to support students during short-term study interruptions of 2-4 weeks. The following guidance is provided to assist post-secondary institution officials in managing impacts to student financial assistance eligibility due to COVID-19-related study interruptions.

For more on StudentAid BC Interruption of Study policy, please see Chapter 9, Section 4 of the StudentAid BC Policy Manual.

Interruptions of Study Due to COVID-19

  • For study periods and programs underway or scheduled to start after May 29, 2020, students will be eligible to receive StudentAid BC funding for up to 4 weeks during any future interruption of study related to COVID-19.
  • After 4 weeks of interruption, institutions must report students’ status to StudentAid BC as appropriate (e.g. withdrawn, early or unsuccessful completion, etc.) should study periods be unable to continue.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What if an institution cancels the term/semester due to COVID-19?

If an institution cancels a study period that was scheduled due to COVID-19, the institution must report students' status as appropriate (e.g. withdrawn, early or unsuccessful completion, etc.) and note that this is due to COVID-19.

When the institution reports a student’s study period as cancelled or ending early due to COVID-19, StudentAid BC will adjust any associated overawards and restrictions. Students may reapply to StudentAid BC for financial assistance when their study period resumes.

What if a student is ill or has been quarantined and cannot successfully complete their study period?

As with other illnesses, students may choose to work with their institutions to find alternate ways of completing their study period.

If a student is unable to successfully complete their study period, the institution will report their withdrawal as appropriate (e.g. withdrawn or unsuccessful completion).

Students may choose to appeal their withdrawal or unsuccessful completion in order to access future funding.

What if a student decides to self-quarantine or not attend class out of concern for COVID-19?

As with other exceptional circumstances, students may choose to work with their institutions to find alternate ways of completing their study period.

If a student is unable to successfully complete their study period, the institution will report their withdrawal as appropriate (e.g. withdrawn or unsuccessful completion).

Students may choose to appeal their withdrawal or unsuccessful completion in order to access future funding.

Who should I contact if I’m not sure what to do?

Please call StudentAid BC at 1-800-561-1818.

Updated June 14, 2021

Program Eligibility for Student Financial Assistance – Information for Post-Secondary Institutions:

Post-secondary institutions are adapting and modifying study programs and using alternative program delivery methods to ensure continuity of learning for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following guidance is provided to assist institutions seeking StudentAid BC student financial assistance program eligibility for study programs affected by COVID-19.

For more information on StudentAid BC program eligibility, please consult Chapter 2 of the StudentAid BC Policy Manual.

Online Program or Blended Learning Program Eligibility:

B.C. Institution Online Programs

For program year 2021/22, all provincially authorized and regulated online programs offered by B.C. public and private institutions are eligible for student financial assistance.

To be eligible for student financial assistance, all online programs must meet basic StudentAid BC program eligibility criteria (e.g. be minimum of 12 weeks within a time frame of 15 consecutive weeks, offer a recognized post-secondary credential, etc.). B.C. regulated institutions may be designated by StudentAid BC if they have one eligible online program (on-site equivalent no longer required).

Out-of-Province Institution Online Programs

Online programs delivered by designated post-secondary institutions located outside of B.C. may be eligible for student financial assistance if StudentAid BC program eligibility criteria are met. For more on this, please consult Chapter 2 of the StudentAid BC Policy Manual, Section 2.3.2 Specific Program Eligibility Criteria, Subsection 3. Online programs or blended learning.

StudentAid BC Application Guidance for Students Taking Online Programs

For more information on how to answer question 20a of the StudentAid BC application (Is your program being delivered online or blended?), please see the Loan Application Instructions for 21/22.

Enabling Study Periods of Less than 12 Weeks:

For program year 2021/22, the minimum study period length for full-time student financial assistance eligibility is 6 consecutive weeks (reduced from previous minimum of 12 weeks). However, to be eligible for student financial assistance, a study program (i.e. credential) must still be a minimum of 12 weeks long within a time frame of 15 weeks.

Programs That Require In-Person Learning or Participation for Completion

For existing and new study programs that require in-person learning or participation (work-integrated learning, co-op, clinical placements, practicums, labs, etc.) for completion, which institutions are now or will be delivering via alternate methods or in modified fashion, or may have in-person components interrupted or delayed due to COVID-19:

  • These programs, should they have the approval of the institution and professional association regulators to be delivered in an alternate or modified manner, will be eligible for StudentAid BC funding provided they meet all other required basic program eligibility criteria (e.g. minimum 12-weeks in length, lead to recognized post-secondary credentials, etc.).
  • In-person learning or participation may be interrupted or delayed up to 4 weeks during which time students may remain eligible for StudentAid BC funding. After 4 weeks of interruption/delay, institutions must report students as appropriate (e.g. withdrawn, early or unsuccessful completion, etc.) to StudentAid BC. See Interruption of Study policy.
  • StudentAid BC student eligibility for financial assistance criteria will continue to apply for students attending modified study programs with required in-person learning or participation that are approved by institution and professional association regulators.

Who should I contact if I’m not sure what to do?

Please call StudentAid BC at 1-800-561-1818.