VIU expands awareness activities for free education savings grants

Nathan and Sam in front of vines on a wall

Samantha Letourneau and Nathan Priest are leading the expansion of VIU’s Canada Learning Bond promotions.

November 8, 2022 - 9:00am

Funding from the Government of Canada’s Canada Learning Bond Program will be used to help more students and families sign up for these education savings grants.

As post-secondary institutions across the nation welcome the first batch of students who are old enough to start using their Canada Learning Bond (CLB) education savings grants, Vancouver Island University (VIU) is stepping up awareness initiatives, thanks to federal funding.

The Government of Canada’s Canada Learning Bond is available to students from modest-income families born in 2004 or later. It provides an initial $500 for the first year the child is eligible, up to age 15, plus $100 for each additional year of eligibility – up to 15 years – for a maximum of $2,000.

In 2013, VIU began actively promoting the CLB and other education savings grants, recognizing that having money in the bank dedicated to post-secondary meant youth were much more likely to attend. Local participation in the CLB has grown from 29 per cent in 2013 to 44.7 per cent in 2021 despite the fact that the number of eligible youth in the region increased from 8,000 to more than 21,000.

Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Canada Learning Bond Pilot Project, VIU will expand these efforts and develop a program to connect with university students who may be eligible for the CLB but are not currently registered to receive it.

“Starting in 2022, VIU will welcome the first cohort of university-aged youth who may be eligible for the CLB but are not currently registered to receive these benefits,” said Samantha Letourneau, who leads VIU’s Canada Learning Bond Project. “As of January 2022, they can apply for it themselves when they reach the age of 18. Given the region’s historically low uptake in terms of the number of eligible families accessing these funds, we believe there are lots of students we can support to get this extra money for post-secondary.”

VIU will receive $625,000 from the government of Canada to develop a strategy to connect one-on-one with CLB-eligible students transitioning to university that can be rolled out at other institutions as well. As part of this funding, the University will hire CLB coordinators for two other Island institutions to ensure a broader test of the model.

“We’re proud to invest in Vancouver Island University to help more students access the Canada Learning Bond, so that they can pursue the future they want,” said Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion. “I’ve seen firsthand the good work this university is doing to make education more affordable for their students, and it’s making a real difference in their lives.”

For Dr. Deborah Saucier, VIU President and Vice-Chancellor, the program is vital to the University’s efforts to make education accessible for all.

“I am grateful to our community partners, and the federal government, for supporting our efforts to promote education savings grants,” she said. “A key ambition at Vancouver Island University is to help our learners and our communities embrace their potential. A major part of that is helping those who might struggle to access education achieve their post-secondary dreams.”

Over the next two years, Letourneau and Nathan Priest, VIU’s CLB Coordinator, will help a thousand VIU students apply for their Registered Education Savings Plan and CLB benefits.

“We are developing a network of CLB champions across all of our campuses to help identify and assist students,” said Letourneau. “When someone knows they can receive a bond, it builds a sense of confidence and inspiration that one can attain their future educational goals. When you have hope, it changes everything.”

To learn more, visit VIU’s Canada Learning Bond website.

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Media Contact:

Jenn McGarrigle, External Communications Manager, Vancouver Island University

C: 250.619.6860 | E: Jenn.McGarrigle@viu.ca | T: @VIUNews


Tags: Community Engagement | Student Success | Announcements