COVID-19 Relief Measures for Students and New Graduates
Post-secondary students have a lot on their mind, whether they’re moving out, applying for financial assistance, or pursuing the career of their dreams. It’s an exciting time, and it’s stressful enough without a pandemic like COVID-19!
Thankfully, the Canadian government has provided a lot of different ways to support Canadian and international students during this stressful time. And H&R Block is here to help, by preparing a list of all those relief measures just for you, below. We’ll keep this list up to date as things change, so that you know what you can expect moving forward.
Here’s a quick list you can use to navigate this article:
Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB)
A new program that started on September 27th 2020 has been introduced for Canadians, including students, who are at least 15 years old and unable to work at least 50% of their scheduled work week because they need to care for a child under the age of 12 as schools, daycares, or care facilities are closed, or because they need to care for another family member who’s sick and has to quarantine.
The program provides $500 per week, for up to 26 weeks, for each household.
It’s important to note that this benefit will be subject to 10% tax withholding, meaning 10% will be sent to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) before you receive it, so that you don’t need to pay back the taxable amount all at once when you prepare your yearly return.
Canada Student Grants
All 2020-2021 Canada Student Grants for eligible students have been doubled – up to $6,000 for full-time students and up to $3,600 for part-time students. The Canada Student Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Students with Dependents will also be doubled.
Financial Assistance Calculations and Contributions
Students and their spouses will not have to make their fixed student contributions for the 2020-2021 school year.
Suspension of Canada Loan Repayments
Students who have Canada Student Loans and/or Canada Apprentice Loans are also able to get additional financial help. The Canada Student Loans Program has raised the maximum weekly amount for students from $210 to $350 for 2020-21.
In addition, up until September 30th 2020, repayments weren’t required, pre-authorized debits were stopped, and interest wasn’t accrued on their loans. These repayments resumed on October 1st 2020.
Suspension of Aide financière aux études Loan Repayments
The Québec government suspended the repayment of loans contracted through Aide financière aux études between April 1st 2020 to September 30th 2020. In addition, the government paid any interest that you owed during this period. You didn’t need to apply; everyone who’s eligible simply had this change applied to their outstanding loan. Now that the six-month suspension period is over, your payments will start again and your loan will automatically be extended for another six months.
Support for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation Students
An amount of $75.2 million has been made available for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation post-secondary students. You can learn more about this initiative, and how to apply for this funding, at this link.
How H&R Block Can Help
If you have any questions about the impact of these changes, or if you’re wanting to prepare and file your taxes but you aren’t sure where to start, our H&R Block Tax Experts are here to help. Learn more about all the ways that H&R Block is providing service to students during the COVID-19 crisis.