Financial Aid Available for Post-Secondary Students with Disabilities in British Columbia
Part of a series of articles on financial aid available for post-secondary students with disabilities, this article will feature what assistance is available specifically to British Columbia students. Information on eligibility and how to apply will be included for each financial aid program. Note that the provincial student financial assistance office is called Student Aid BC and that the following funding is available in addition to the federal Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities and Canada Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities.
- Learning Disability Assessment Bursary
The programs in this article are not in any particular order, but this bursary comes first for one crucial reason: in order to qualify for financial assistance available to students with disabilities, you must have a recent learning disability assessment. Without an assessment, you will be not eligible for any of these programs. Up to $1,800 is available to eligible students, who must be enrolled in part-time or full-time studies in public post-secondary institutions. To apply, speak to the disability services office at your school.
- BC Access Grant for Full-Time Students with Permanent Disabilities
Note that this program, unlike the ones above, is available only to full-time students with permanent disabilities. Full-time program attendance is defined as greater than 40% course load. The BC Access Grant will replace $1,000 in BC student loan funding with a grant, so part of the loan will not need to be repaid.
There is no separate application for this grant. You apply for Student Aid BC funding as usual, and you should be automatically considered for the BC Access Grant if you hit all the eligibility criteria. One requirement is submitting to Student Aid BC documentation of your permanent disability, and this will be a separate form.
- BC Supplemental Bursary for Students with a Permanent Disability
Once you have qualified for the Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities, you now qualify for the BC Supplemental Bursary. The amount available varies depending on your course load. If you are a full-time student (in other words, your course load is 40% or higher), your bursary is $800. If you are a part-time student (your course load is between 20% and 39%), your bursary is $400.
Like the BC Access Grant, there is no separate application. The disability documentation you submitted to Student Aid BC as part of applying for the BC Access Grant is sufficient for the BC Supplementary Bursary. Once Student Aid BC knows of your disability, you will be automatically considered for this bursary.
- BC Access Grant for Deaf Students
The BC Access Grant for Deaf Students supports students with hearing disabilities in attending either Gallaudet University in Washington, D. C. or the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, New York. These post-secondary institutions deliver their curricula in American Sign Language. Enrollment as a full-time student in one of these two schools is part of the eligibility criteria, which also include documentation of financial need and that you are deaf or hard of hearing.
The application process for this grant has additional requirements. On top of the verification of permanent disability, students are required to submit an audiogram to Student Aid BC for assessment.
Student Aid BC is the office responsible for administrating financial aid for British Columbia students. The first to qualifying for any of the above programs is to first submit verified documentation of your disability to Student Aid BC, which will automatically qualify you for the general grants.