Federal budget alters funding to post-secondary institutions

University District

The new federal budget will bring significant changes for post-secondary students in the 2016-17 academic year.

The 2016 budget dedicates a total of $2 billion to be invested in colleges and universities over the next three years through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the budget in the House of Commons on Tuesday. 

“The 2016 budget includes important new investments in the post-secondary sector, including financial assistance for students, funding for fundamental research, and infrastructure renewal,” Principal Daniel Woolf wrote in the Queen’s Gazette.

The new fund will support infrastructure projects for university and college research and training facilities.

An extra $95 million each year will be provided to Canada’s three granting councils for research. The new funding, which will be ongoing, is the highest amount of 

annual funding that has been dedicated to post-secondary institutional research in over a decade.

The budget, among other things, imposes several changes to Canada Student Grants. A total of $1.53 billion will be dedicated to increases in Canada Student Grants over the next five years. 

Low- and middle-income families will see a 50 per cent increase in student grant amounts per year, with low-income family grants rising from $2,000 per year to $3,000 and middle-income family grants rising from $800 per year to $1,200. 

Part-time students will also experience a 50 per cent increase in grants, which will rise from $1,200 per year to $1,800 per year.

And instead of considering a student’s financial assets and income to determine eligibility for Canada Student Loans and Grants, students will pay a flat amount each year to pay for their education. 

The budget will also eliminate some supports for students, however — it will remove the education and textbook tax credits that students have been able to claim in the past.

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