COVID-19 Response Information


Updated May 14, 2020

StudentAid BC is responding to COVID-19 by providing emergency student financial assistance, adapting policy and streamlining processes to support students, borrowers and post-secondary institutions.

For public health guidance on COVID-19, please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control Colleges and Universities page.

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.

Updated May 14, 2020

Students studying at B.C. public post-secondary institutions:

  • British Columbia has provided a total of $3.5 million in emergency student financial assistance for eligible students studying at B.C.’s 25 public post-secondary institutions.
  • An additional $1.5 million has been provided to supplement Indigenous Emergency Assistance Fund which is available through all 25 public post-secondary institutions in B.C, as well as Native Education College.
  • Students seeking access to emergency assistance funding should contact their school’s financial aid office to complete an application.

Students studying at B.C. public, private and out-of-province post-secondary institutions:

  • May be eligible for federal and provincial emergency benefits.
  • May find more details on Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, including:
    • the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit;
    • the new Canada Emergency Student Benefit ($1,250 per month, from May to August 2020, or $2,000 per month for students with dependents or disabilities), to provide financial support to students and new graduates who are not eligible for the CERB;
    • the new Canada Student Service Grant (up to $5,000 towards education in the fall) to help students who volunteer within community or do national service during the COVID-19 pandemic;
    • and changes announced to the Canada Summer Jobs Program to help employers hire summer staff and provide young Canadians with access to summer employment.
    • students do not need to declare these benefits as targeted resources on their StudentAid BC applications for student financial assistance.

Updated May 6, 2020

Government of Canada Supports:

To help students continue their studies in the fall, the Government of Canada will:

  • double Canada Student Grants for full-time students to up to $6,000 and up to $3,600 for part-time students in 2020-21. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents will also be doubled.
  • for the 2020-2021 school year, students will not be required to make their fixed student contribution; no spousal contribution would be required either.
  • for the 2020-2021 school year, the Canada Student Loan weekly loan limit will increase from $210 to $350.

Government of British Columbia Supports:

  • The Province remains concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on students’ ability to continue studies. We are working to further identify the best actions to support B.C. students facing hardship as a result of COVID-19.

Updated May 6, 2020

Suspension of Repayment:

Effective March 30, 2020, all British Columbia student loan borrowers will temporarily have their repayments suspended until September 30, 2020. During this time, no payment will be required, and interest that currently applies to the federal portion of student loans will not accrue. Repayment will be paused automatically, so borrowers do not need to apply to have their repayment suspended.

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions section below for more details on the temporary suspension of payments.

Suspension of Repayment - Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I apply to have my payments suspended?

You do not need to apply. Repayment will be paused automatically.

How will the suspension affect me if I am still in school?

The suspension does not impact your loan since you have no payment to make and interest does not accumulate while you are in-study.

How will the suspension affect me if I am in my six-month non-repayment period?

Payments are never required during the non-repayment period. If your non-repayment period is set to end during the suspension period, payments will automatically be suspended until September 30 and you will resume repaying your loan in October 2020.

How will the suspension of payments affect me if I am already repaying my loan?

  • If your loan is in good standing, i.e. your regular payments are up-to-date, your payments will automatically be suspended until September 30 and you will resume repaying your loan in October 2020.
  • If your loan is in arrears, i.e. you have missed one or more payments, your payments will also automatically be suspended until September 30. You will resume repaying your loan in October 2020, and it will be in the same arrears situation it was on March 30. For example, if you were two months behind in your payments in March, you will still be considered two months behind in October.
  • If you are on the Repayment Assistance Plan (RAP), your RAP period will be paused so that you can benefit from the interest- and payment-free period until September 30, 2020. Your RAP period will resume on October 1, 2020.
  • If you are already in repayment and require more information, please contact the National Student Loans Services Centre.

How will the suspension of payments affect me if my loan is in default and my loan is now being managed by Revenue Services of British Columbia?

  • If you are making regular payments on your student loan you are entitled to stop making payments from March 30, 2020 through to September 30, 2020.
  • Payments will be accepted from anyone wishing to make a payment.
  • If you have a pre-authorized debit arrangement created prior to March 30, 2020, it has been cancelled due to the suspension period. Please contact Revenue Services of British Columbia if you wish to reinstate pre-authorized debit.
  • If you pay by credit card you may pause this payment during the suspension period.
  • If you provided post-dated cheques prior to March 30th, for the period of March 30, 2020, through to September 20, 2020, they will not be processed unless directed by the account holder. If you sent in post-dated cheques after March 30th, please contact Revenue Services of British Columbia if you need your post-dated cheque pulled.
  • If your loan is in default and you require more information, please contact Revenue Services of British Columbia.

Updated May 6, 2020

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 Part-Time Applications via document upload or email.

Changes to Support Online Study and Program Eligibility Administration:

  • For Program Year 2019/20 (ending July 31, 2020), existing private or out-of-province post-secondary institution programs moving from on site to online delivery do not require a Confirmation of Distance Education Eligibility (CODEE) form. Institutions do not need to notify SABC of these changes but must ensure compliance with their regulator.
  • Private or out-of-province post-secondary institution online programs submitted for the 2020/21 Program Year will be assessed based on the 2020/21 online program eligibility policy.

Updated May 6, 2020

Interruption of Study Policy:

StudentAid BC Interruption of Study policy is intended to support students during short-term interruptions of 2-4 weeks. The following guidance is provided to assist post-secondary institutions managing interruptions of study due to COVID-19.

March 2020 COVID-19 Interruption

For study programs interrupted in March 2020 that were scheduled to conclude before May 29, 2020, and have since been cancelled or moved to early completion:

  • No withdrawal/unsuccessful completion reporting to StudentAid BC is required.
  • Students will remain eligible for funding for the duration of their study period should they maintain satisfactory scholastic standing.

For study programs interrupted in March 2020 that were scheduled to conclude after May 29, 2020, and have not been cancelled, moved to early completion or continued in an alternate manner:

  • Institutions must identify options to assist students in resuming and completing their study period or, if none are available, report students as appropriate (e.g. withdrawn, early or unsuccessful completion, etc.) to StudentAid BC by May 29, 2020.
  • If institutions identify options for continuing and/or extending the interrupted study period, students may request a reassessment from StudentAid BC to receive additional funding.
  • For study periods that are unable to continue, students may reapply to StudentAid BC for additional student financial assistance when their study period resumes.

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

Future Interruptions of Study Due to COVID-19

  • For study periods and programs currently underway or scheduled to start after May 29, 2020, students will be eligible to receive StudentAid BC funding for up to four (4) weeks during any future interruption of study related to COVID-19.
  • After four (4) weeks of interruption, institutions must report students 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 temporarily suspended operations (e.g. school closes, exchange program students recalled, work-integrated learning cancelled, etc.) due to COVID-19?

An interruption of study will have no impact on student eligibility for financial assistance or disbursement of funding should students complete or recommence classes before May 29, 2020. No withdrawal/unsuccessful completion reporting to StudentAid BC is required.

If an institution extends the study period in response to an interruption, students may request a reassessment from StudentAid BC to receive additional funding.

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

No withdrawal/unsuccessful completion reporting to StudentAid BC is required if institutions cancel the term/semester before May 29, 2020.

If an institution cancels a study period that was scheduled to end after May 29, 2020, the institution must report students as appropriate (e.g. withdrawn, early or unsuccessful completion, etc.) as of May 29, 2020.

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 May 6, 2020

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.

Programs Delivered via Alternate/Online Methods Due to COVID-19:

For 2019/20 study programs currently approved by StudentAid BC as eligible for student financial assistance, which institutions are now or will be delivering via alternate or online methods during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • These programs will remain eligible for StudentAid BC funding provided they meet all other required basic program eligibility criteria (e.g. minimum 12-weeks in length, lead to formal post-secondary credentials, etc.). See Chapter 2, Section 1 of the StudentAid BC Policy Manual.

For 2020/21 online study programs submitted to StudentAid BC for program eligibility review:

  • These programs will be assessed based on the current online program eligibility policy. See Chapter 2, Section 5 of the StudentAid BC Policy Manual.

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 formal 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 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