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Canada Emergency Student Benefit available May 15

By Nikayla Goddard, May 14 2020 —

Students can apply for the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) benefit starting on May 15, which provides financial support to post-secondary students and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19. It’s only for students who do not first qualify or have not already applied for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI). From May to August 2020, the CESB will provide eligible students with $1,250 every four weeks or $2,000 for students with disabilities or dependents. 

You are considered an eligible student otherwise if you meet one of the following criteria: you are currently enrolled in a recognized post-secondary program of at least 12 weeks in duration (degree, diploma, certificate, etc.); completed or ended your post-secondary studies in December 2019 or later; or you’ve completed or expect to complete high school or equivalency in 2020 and have applied for a post-secondary program that starts before February 1, 2021. In addition to one of these criteria, you also must: be unable to work due to COVID-19, looking for but can’t find work due to COVID-19, or are still working during the pandemic but your income is less than $1,000 before taxes during the 4-week period you’re applying for. 

Students studying in Canada or aboard are eligible, though only Canadian citizens, permanent residents and protected persons (recognized by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada and Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada), are eligible, leaving international students out of the picture unless they fit one of the above statuses. 

You can apply for this benefit through the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or by logging into your Service Canada account and switching to the CRA through there. You will be asked for your Social Insurance Number (SIN) and verification that you meet all criteria. 

Additionally student support released by the government includes the Canada Student Grants will also be doubled for eligible full-time students to up to $6,000 and part-time students to up to $3,600, and the Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents will also be doubled. No payments are required for Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans, and no interest will accrue from March 30 to September 30, 2020. Canada Student Loans Program will also be raising the maximum weekly amount that can be provided to a student in 2020-21 from $210 to $350.

The eligibility for student financial assistance will broaden by removing the expected student’s and spouse’s contributions in 2020-21, in recognition that many students and families will struggle to save for school this year.

The government has also pledged to invest an additional $75 million in the Post-Secondary Student Support Program, Metis Education Strategy and Inuit Education Strategy. 


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