BC Access Grant making life better for post-secondary students

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman stopped by NIC's Comox Valley campus to speak with students about the new BC Access Grant. 

Post-secondary education and training will be more affordable for thousands of students throughout B.C., thanks to the new B.C. Access Grant program.

“I’m excited to be here today to speak with students about what the B.C. Access Grant will mean for them,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “By making the first new investment in post-secondary grants in 15 years, we’re empowering those who need it most to access, afford and complete their post-secondary education and training.”

Heyman spoke with students from North Island College on Tuesday, March 10, 2020, and celebrated the new grant, which will take effect in September 2020. Eligible students can receive up to $4,000 per year through the new program.

The new, needs-based B.C. Access Grant will be available for those who need it most: low- and middle-income students. Students will receive the grant at the beginning of their studies, so they can pay for tuition, text books, lab and other supplies needed for their programs of study.

For the first time, such funding will also be available for students who are studying in programs under two years, including certificate and diploma programs, as well as for students studying part time. The changes nearly double the number of students who will be eligible to receive support.

“Students have been calling for this moment for almost two decades,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “The new grant will open doors to post-secondary education for thousands of British Columbians who were shut out for far too long. This is a game changer that will benefit students who need it the most, especially with their up-front costs like tuition and books. I am so proud that our government is investing in the next generation of students.”

The B.C. Access Grant complements the Canada Student Grant for Full-time Students, ensuring B.C. students attending public post-secondary institutions receive up to $4,000 a year to help with the cost of programs leading to a certificate, diploma or degree.

Government is investing $24 million in new funding over three years. This is in addition to approximately $37 million government is reinvesting from existing grant programs that don’t help students with the up-front costs of their post-secondary education. 

More than 40,000 low- and middle-income students will be eligible for the new B.C. Access Grant, which will be available starting in the fall 2020 semester. 

Improving access and reducing the cost of post-secondary education for students are shared priorities between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and are part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.


Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox –

“This is an exciting time for students, who will be able to study closer to home, thanks to our government’s investment with the needs-based up-front access grant. This grant will enable students at North Island College to study in in-demand fields, like the trades and health-care professions, and give them the opportunity to study closer to home. I’m so proud of our government’s work to make life more affordable and remove barriers to post-secondary education.”

John Bowman, president, North Island College –

“I want to thank Minister Heyman for taking the time to speak to our students today to share the news of the new B.C. Access Grant program. This grant will provide additional financial support for students throughout the North Island College region and supports our goal of increasing access to education across the North Island.”

Quick Facts:

  • Students will automatically be assessed for their eligibility for the B.C. Access Grant when they apply for financial assistance from StudentAid BC.
  • Eligible students in programs that are under two years in length will receive up to $4,000 per year.
  • Eligible students in programs that are two years or longer will receive up to $1,000 per year.
  • These students may also be eligible for the Canada Student Grant for Full-time students of up to $3,000 per year.

Learn More:

For more information on the B.C. Access Grant, visit: https://studentaidbc.ca/news/grants-scholarships/new-bc-access-grant

Media Contact
Elizabeth Young
Media Liaison, North Island College
O: 250-334-5233 | C: 250-207-6946