Financial Aid Available for Post-Secondary Students with Disabilities in Prince Edward Island
This is the next article in my series of articles outlining the financial assistance available to Canadian post-secondary students with disabilities. Every province will be covered and given their their own article in order to accurately reflect their own unique financial aid availability. Prince Edward Island will be the focus of this article.
The provincial government’s Department of Workforce and Advanced Learning administers among other programs, Student Financial Services. The Canadian and Prince Edward Island governments together provide student financial aid, with the latter responsible for processing and distributing the funding. Below, the first two are courtesy of the federal government and the third is unique to Prince Edward Island.
- The Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities
Eligible students with permanent disabilities may receive a maximum of $2,000 per academic year. This funding is meant to assist with paying for education-related expenses.
To be eligible, you must have been assessed to have a minimum of $1 in financial need; enrolled in either full-time or part-time studies; and provide evidence of physical or learning disability. Students with physical disabilities must submit a Permanent Disability Medical Form; this form can only be completed by a relevant health care professional. Students with learning disabilities must submit their psycho-educational assessment; these evaluations are must be performed by a registered psychologist. Note that Student Financial Services will only look at your application once the all medical documentation has been submitted and received.
- The Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities for Services and Equipment
Eligible students with permanent disabilities may receive a maximum of $8,000 per academic year. This funding is meant to assist with paying for services and equipment that allow students with disabilities to access post-secondary education.
The eligibility requirement is simple: in order to be eligible for this grant, you must have been approved to receive the Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities.
The application process is a little less simple: wait until your general financial aid application has been reviewed and approved, then you will need to meet with your school’s accessibility services or disability coordinator. Together, you will determine what services and equipment will be needed for that academic year. The school must be involved because they will be the one receiving the cheque with funds to cover the requested services and equipment. However, it is your responsibility as the student to ensure all spending is accounted for; you must keep all receipts and send them to Student Financial Services. Should you have leftover funds that do not get used, they have to be paid back.
- Prince Edward Island Severe Permanent Disability Benefit
This benefit is unique to Prince Edward Island. Having a severe permanent disability can mean the person cannot pursue further post-secondary education or join the workforce. If this reflects your circumstances and you have student loans, you can apply to have these loans terminated through this benefit, so you no longer have to pay them back.
In order to apply, you must first apply for approval for the Federal Severe Permanent Disability Benefit. Note that approval for this benefit ensures your federal student loans are voided. The next step is contact the provincial Student Financial Services and apply for the Prince Edward Island Several Permanent Disability Benefit. You must complete an application; part of this application requires evidence documenting your approval for the Federal Severe Permanent Disability Benefit. If you receive provincial approval, your provincial student loans will be cancelled—note that this approval means you may not apply for any student financial assistance in the future.
Prince Edward Island Student Financial Services provides students with disabilities access to two federal grants as well as a benefit that essentially turns previous loans into grants. The first two are available to students with disabilities across Canada while the last is available only in Prince Edward Island.