Students in Newfoundland and Labrador currently have an up-front, needs based grant program in place due to the hard work of the Canadian Federation of Students. These grants ensure that students with an assessed need of greater than $60 per week for their provincial student loan can get the help that they need. Students across the country also have the Canadian Federation of Students to thank for a federal income contingent grants program.
Currently, students who graduate from a university or college program that is at least 80 weeks in duration are eligible for Debt Reduction Grants, provided they meet specific criteria. Unfortunately, because these grants are awarded at the end of studies they do very little to encourage students to initially enroll in post-secondary education.
The international and Canadian evidence is clear: the best form of student financial assistance to encourage enrollment in universities and colleges is up-front grants. Such grants reduce the financial barriers that travel and living expenses often represent for students whose family doesn’t live near a post-secondary institution. The success of these grants are seen clearly in Newfoundland and Labrador with its increasing enrollment numbers and decreasing out new out of high school students.