Canada student loans available for courses lasting 34 weeks

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The federal government has made major changes to Canada’s student loan program by expanding the eligibility of its financial assistance program.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Vancouver yesterday to announce that individuals enrolled in short-duration educational programs can apply and receive student loans.

Currently, students are only eligible to receive student loans if they take post-secondary programs that last a minimum of 60 weeks, but changes have been made to allow students to receive loans for courses running at least 34 weeks.

The changes will increase the accessibility of post-secondary education for low- and middle-income families and assist Canadians with acquiring or upgrading their skills to enter the workforce.

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It is estimated that these eligibility changes would increase the reach of the student loan program by 42,000 additional students per year. The changes go into effect during the upcoming 2016-17 academic year.

“Our Government’s top priority remains creating jobs and opportunities for Canadians,” said Harper in a statement.

“By expanding the eligibility of Canada Student Grants for students from low- and middle-income families to include short-duration programs, Canadians across the country will have more access to the skills and training they need to get good jobs and succeed in the job market.”

The federal government spends $10 billion annually on post-secondary education programs, which includes student financial assistance programs.

During the 2012-13 academic year, approximately 357,000 students received $695 million in Canada Student Grants – an increase of 6.1 per cent over the previous year.

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