Government announces “skill boost” grant for adult learners
- NC Raine | September 20, 2018
The Government of Canada has unveiled a new grant to support adult learners going back to school or upgrade their skills.
Skill Boost, announced on September 13th at the Saskatchewan Institute of Technologies (SIIT) aircraft maintenance campus in Saskatoon, is a $275.7 million pilot project that gives student learners access to a new $1,600 per year Canada Student Grant. The grant comes without the usual financial obligations of a student loan.
“We’re all coming to this place with a completely different set of circumstances. People don’t have equal opportunity to succeed. That’s where government has the most opportunity, and responsibility, to level that playing field,” said Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour. “Your own birth circumstances should not mean you have less opportunities in this country.”
The top-up grant funding will be based on the length of study; those registered for an eight-month school year will receive $1,600 while those registered for 12-month school year will receive $2,400. Funding is available to full time students pursuing an undergraduate degree, certificate, or diploma of at least two years duration, at a designated post secondary institution, who have been out of school for at least ten years.
This is a game changer, particularly for parents who are women and who are trying to go back to school, said Hajdu.
“As an adult learner myself, who went back to school as a single mom of two children, I know that adult learners can face challenges to pursuing post-secondary education,” she said. “Our government has Canada covered (...) programs like Skills Boost will ensure they have a fair chance at success.”
To date, more than 28,000 adult learners have received the top-up grand funding, for a total of $22 million. Currently, unemployed workers receiving Employment Insurance may lose their eligibility for benefits if they return to school. With the Skills Boost top-up grant, those receiving Employment Insurance will be able to return to school without the risk of losing their benefits.
“It takes a leap of faith to go back to school as an adult, to take that chance to invest in yourself,” said Hajdu, addressing a room full of SIIT students, many of whom may benefit from Skills Boost. “But I will tell you right now that you’re not going to regret this investment you’ve taken in yourself.”