Students in Canada can get help from the federal government right now to help pay for post-secondary education and the cost of living.
So, if you're attending university or college during the 2023-24 academic year, there are government supports you need to know about that can get you money and even help you save money.
That includes benefits like the Canada Learning Bond and tax relief like the student loan repayment tax credit.
Also, changes to how much money you can get from Canada Student Grants have come into effect so you can get bigger payments now!
Now, let's dive into five ways students in Canada can get help from the federal government this school year.
Canada Learning Bond
With the Canada Learning Bond, you can get money from the federal government to help pay for post-secondary education.
It puts $500 into a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) in the first year and then another $100 each eligible year until the age of 15 for up to a maximum of $2,000.
To be eligible for the Canada Learning Bond, you must:
- be a resident of Canada
- have a Social Insurance Number
- be named as a beneficiary in an RESP
- be born on or after January 1, 2004
- be from a family with low-income
No contributions to an RESP are needed to get money from the Canada Learning Bond and eligibility is based on your family income.
You can get the Canada Learning Bond as an adult if you were born in 2004 or later and were eligible to get payments as a child but didn't.
Since the Canada Learning Bond is retroactive, you can open your own RESP once you turn 18 years old and request to get the money until the day before you turn 21 years old.
Student loan interest elimination
Earlier in 2023, the federal government announced the permanent elimination of interest for Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans through the Canada Student Financial Assistance Program.
That means you will not be charged new interest on federal student or apprentice loans, as of April 1, 2023.
According to the government, this change will help more than a million post-secondary graduates across the country every year.
The elimination of interest will save the average person with a student loan around $520 a year, based on current interest rates.
Students will continue to be responsible for paying any interest that had accumulated on the loan before April 1, 2023.
Student loan repayment tax credit
Since students are still responsible for paying any interest that accumulated on their loan before interest was eliminated, you can still get a break from the federal government.
You can receive a 15% tax credit on any interest you pay on your government student loans each year. It applies to interest payments you make on both your federal and provincial or territorial student loans.
You can get the T4A documents and statements you need for this in your National Student Loans Service Centre account at the start of each calendar year.
You're eligible to claim an amount for the interest paid on your student loan in 2022 or the preceding five years for post-secondary education if you received it under:
- the Canada Student Loans Act
- the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act
- the Apprentice Loans Act
- provincial or territorial government laws similar to the acts above
If you have no tax payable for the year that you paid interest on your loan, it's recommended by the Canada Revenue Agency that you don't claim it on your return.
That's because you can carry the interest forward and apply it on your return for any of the next five years.
Climate action incentive payment
The climate action incentive payment is a tax-free amount to help people offset the cost of federal pollution pricing.
It's available to residents of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, P.E.I., and New Brunswick.
You're eligible for this credit if you are a resident of Canada for income tax purposes at the beginning of the payment month and a resident of a climate action incentive payment province on the first day of the payment month.
Also, in the month before the CRA makes a quarterly payment, you must be at least 19 years old.
So, you can be eligible to get money from the climate action incentive payment as a post-secondary student.
For Ontario residents, this government program provides an annual credit of $488 for an individual.
In Manitoba, residents get an annual credit of $528 and in Saskatchewan, there is an annual credit of $680 for an individual.
The Alberta climate action incentive payment program offers individuals an annual credit of $772.
For residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, there is a quarterly credit of $164 for an individual which works out to $656 a year.
In Nova Scotia, a quarterly credit of $124 — $496 a year — is given out to individuals.
The P.E.I. program provides a quarterly credit of $120 for an individual which is $480 a year.
For New Brunswick residents, the program has a quarterly credit of $92 — $368 a year — for an individual.
If you're entitled to get money from the climate action incentive payment, you can expect to receive payments on the 15th of April, July, October and January either as a cheque through the mail or by direct deposit.
Canada Student Grant amount increase
Earlier in 2023, the federal government announced that it would enhance student financial assistance for the 2023-24 academic year starting on August 1, 2023.
That included changes to Canada Student Grants by increasing the amount of money that you can by 40%.
Canada Student Grants for full-time students are now up to $4,200 per year or up to $525 per month of study until the end of the 2023-24 school year which runs from August 1, 2023 to July 31, 2024.
With Canada Student Grants for part-time students, the amount has been increased now to up to $2,520 per year until July 31, 2024.
You're automatically assessed for grants when you apply for student aid with your province or territory.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.