Students who will be attending post-secondary school this fall can now apply for StudentAid BC, as well as a new non-repayable B.C. access grant.

The grant expands open education resources and online support through BCcampus.

Every student that applies for StudentAid BC will automatically be assessed for the new B.C. Access Grant.

The new grant was announced in this year’s budget, allows over 40,000 low, and middle-income students, or about twice as many students previously supported under other grants, to access more affordable public post-secondary education. These students can receive up to $4,000 a year to help with the up-front cost of programs leading to a certificate, diploma or degree.

The B.C. Access Grant amount is based on a student’s family income. The more income a family has the grant amount decreases.

Grant maximums are up to $4,000 a year for students enrolled in programs less than two years in length, up to $1,000 a year for students enrolled in programs two years in length or longer, up to $1,000 a year for students studying part-time.

To be eligible students must be low to middle income, students must be enrolled in full and a part-time undergraduate degree, diploma and certificate programs, must be studying at a B.C. public post-secondary institution and must be eligible to apply for and receive a student loan to access the grant.

With the application process open, the government has announced that they are providing $275,000 to BCcampus to develop online resources and tools for students, staff and faculty to help them with a range of topics.

Resources include a website, videos and webinars on topics such as adapting to online learning, building resilience, stress management and understanding financial supports.

BCcampus began running the webinars earlier this year in April. They plan to run regularly into 2021, with dedicated sessions planned for students, faculty and staff. Sessions are recorded, transcribed and hosted on the BCcampus website.

Also, this fall, students and faculty at public post-secondary institutions throughout B.C. will benefit from new open educational resources (OER) being created and adapted.

Over 310 textbooks, supplementary manuals and guides are available free through B.C.’s Open Textbook collection, which covers a wide range of subjects.

The Province is further investing $400,000 through BCcampus to create fully developed OER courses and support services for a broad range of the most popular courses.

This work will better support educators with an expanded choice of free textbooks and more supports for online course delivery, benefiting both faculty and students. As more subjects are identified, additional OER will be developed.