Financial Aid Available for Post-Secondary Students with Disabilities in Saskatchewan
Specific financial assistance for post-secondary students with disabilities is available across Canada. Because not every province and territory offer the same grants and loans, each will be featured in their own article in this series. In this article, I describe what financial assistance opportunities are available to Saskatchewan students. Note that the provincial financial aid office is called Saskatchewan Student Loans.
Saskatchewan is among the nine provinces—and one territory—where post-secondary students with disabilities are eligible to apply for two federal grants (in addition to what is available provincially). These grants are called the Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities and the Canada Student Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities. Together, the two grants offer a maximum total of $10,000 and can cover costs such as tuition, textbooks, and accommodations. If you’re a Saskatchewan students, know that financial aid is available on both the federal and provincial levels.
- Canada-Saskatchewan Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities
Despite having a name almost identical to that of the federal grant, the Canada-Saskatchewan Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities is in fact the provincial grant for post-secondary students with disabilities. One immediate difference is amount of funding available: the provincial grant offers a maximum of $10,000 per school year whereas the annual maximum coverage for the federal grant is $8,000.
The eligibility requirements for the federal and provincial grants are similar. To be eligible for the Canada-Saskatchewan Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities, the student must have a permanent disability; must qualify for either a full-time or part-time student loan; must be enrolled in either full-time or part-time post-secondary studies; must provide proof of disability; and must provide documentation of what services and equipment are required.
The provincial grant aims to provide an equitable learning environment by helping students with disabilities purchase education-related services and equipment. Examples include tutors, note takers, interpreters, readers, and assistive technology—but did you know that this grant will also cover costs associated with specialized transportation to and from school? Are you wondering if a specialized service or equipment you require will be covered? If so, a document called the Standard Costs and Frequency of Entitlement for Approved Services (link: http://publications.gov.sk.ca/documents/139/101538-Standard%20Costs%20and%20Frequency%20of%20Entitlement.pdf) is the comprehensive list of services and equipment eligible for coverage by the Canada-Saskatchewan Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities.
In addition, the Standard Costs and Frequency of Entitlement for Approved Services also details how much and how frequently the grant will cover each service or piece of equipment. For example, the provincial grant will cover $1,500 for a complete computer system (hardware, peripherals, and software) once every four loan years. Tablets are also something that can be covered (it’s on the list!)—but overall, only one computer package (desktop, laptop, or tablet) will be approved.
Now that you know about the Canada-Saskatchewan Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities, let’s talk about applying for it. First, you are strongly advised to start well before your classes start—at least two months before. Second, you require a document from your school confirming that you are enrolled; another document outlining what your needed services and equipment are; and yet another document documenting your disability. All of this information will be required in order to complete the application form (link for 2017-2018 school year: http://publications.gov.sk.ca/documents/139/101540-Grant%20for%20Services%20and%20Equipment%20for%20Students%20with%20Permanent%20Disabilitie%202017-18.pdf). The completed application must be submitted to Student Services Centre, Disability Unit (address is 1120 – 2010 12th Avenue Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 0M3).
If you still have questions, the Saskatchewan government put together a helpful video on applying for the Canada-Saskatchewan Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZrBdQF31I0.
Because post-secondary students in Saskatchewan are eligible to access federal funding specifically intended for students with disabilities, you should read this article in addition to the one covering the financial assistance available from the federal government.