Accessing Student Financial Benefits and Support During COVID-19

Posted: Jun 3, 2020

Topic: Education, Emergency Assistance, Guidelines, Income Support

Source: Indigenous Services Canada

The following is a factsheet prepared by Indigenous Services Canada outlining all of the financial benefits and supports available to students during COVID-19.

Download this factsheet as a PDF here.

Indigenous post-secondary students have access to all of the comprehensive support for students and new grads affected by COVID-19.

Support for students and recent graduates

Canada Emergency Student Benefit

  • The Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) provides financial support to post-secondary students, and recent post-secondary and high school graduates who are unable to find work due to COVID-19 or are currently working, but making less than $1,000 (before taxes) during the 4-week period applied for.
  • It provides $1,250 every four weeks for eligible students or $2,000 every four weeks for eligible students with disabilities or those with children under 12 or other dependants.
  • It is available from May 10 until August 29, 2020. Applications will be accepted until September 30, 2020.
  • The CESB is available to:
    • students who are enrolled in a post-secondary education program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate, at any time between December 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020; or
    • students who completed or ended their post-secondary studies in December 2019 or later; or
    • students who graduated or are expected to graduate from secondary school in 2020 (or received an equivalent qualification) and have applied for enrollment in a post-secondary educational program scheduled to begin before February 1, 2021.
  • Students or recent graduates receiving the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI) are not eligible.
  • If you do not have an existing profile with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), you must call 1-800-959-8281 to register your Social Insurance Number (SIN) before you can apply for the CESB.
  • Students who are eligible for the CESB must reapply for it every four weeks. Click here to apply.

Post-Secondary Education for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation students

  • The Government of Canada is allocating an additional $75.2M to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation students pursuing post-secondary education.
  • To determine your eligibility:
    • First Nations students: contact your band council office or the organization that administers the Post-Secondary Student Support Program.
    • Inuit students: contact your respective Inuit land-claim organization.
    • Métis Nation students: contact your respective Governing Member.

Youth Employment and Skills Strategy

  • Additional investments in the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy (YESS) program, delivered by a number of Government of Canada departments, will increase employment opportunities and supports for youth across the country who are impacted by the pandemic by:
    • funding employers and non-profit organizations to create additional youth employment opportunities;
    • creating training opportunities for youth to ensure they are ready to enter the workforce; and
    • providing other relevant supports, such as mentorship opportunities, access to computers, access to mental health and emergency supports.
  • These measures will ensure youth, including those facing barriers, can benefit from the new employment opportunities being created in response to the pandemic.
  • The YESS program is available to youth aged 15 to 30.
  • These investments in the YESS program go hand-in-hand with other measures introduced to support youth and students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs 2020 Program.
  • Visit the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy web page for updates.

Within the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, Indigenous Services Canada supports the First Nations and Inuit Youth Employment Strategy (FNIYES) that includes two program streams specifically to provide First Nations and Inuit youth with opportunities to develop skills, gain employment and build careers:

First Nations and Inuit Summer Work Experience Program

  • Through summer work experience, the First Nations and Inuit Summer Work Experience Program supports First Nations and Inuit youth to gain work experience, develop important skills, and earn income to support their post-secondary education.

First Nations and Inuit Skills Link Program

  • The First Nations and Inuit Skills Link Program is another program aimed to help First Nations and Inuit youth acquire essential employability and job-related skills, learn about job and career options, and prepare for employment and career development.

Student Work Placement Program

  • Students and businesses that are impacted by COVID-19 will have better access to the Student Work Placement Program because of a one-year additional investment of $80M and new temporary measures.
  • Canadian students registered in a post-secondary program with a university, college or polytechnic could be eligible to access these newly created work placements.
  • Employers and post-secondary education institutions interested in accessing wage subsidies to hire a student can contact Employer Delivery Partners from various sectors directly.

Canada Summer Jobs program

  • Temporary changes to the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program will allow employers to:
    • obtain an increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee; o adapt their projects and job activities to support the delivery of essential services;
    • extend the end date for employment to February 28, 2021; and
    • hire youth on a part-time or full-time basis.
  • Canada Summer Jobs have been available for youth since May 15, 2020, and job opportunities could be offered beyond the summer months – ending as late as February 2021. We encourage job seekers between the ages of 15 and 30 to keep checking the Job Bank website and app for updates on job opportunities.

Canada Student Service Grant – For youth seeking service opportunities

  • The Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) will provide up to $5,000 to support student’s post-secondary education costs in the fall.
  • More information will also be made available on the “I Want to Help” platform over the coming weeks to provide specific details about the CSSG, including more detailed information about eligibility, the levels of funding available under the grant, how to apply for a national service position, and how applications will be assessed.

Canada Service Corps – For youth seeking service opportunities

  • The Canada Service Corps (CSC) is increasing the number of available micro-grants from 1,800 micro-grants last year, to up to 15,000 over the coming months.
  • Youth can apply to receive $250, $750 or $1,500 to support projects in their communities. Youth design the projects with support from partner organizations and then deliver them in their communities.
  • Youth will be able to apply for the grants by following a link on the Canada Service Corps website or directly through the Taking it Global Website.

Canada Student Loans Program

  • Under the Canada Student Loans Program, current post-secondary students and new students starting post-secondary education will have access to the following supports in 2020-21, starting with the fall session:
    • the amount of Canada Student Grants (CSG) will be doubled for full- and part-time students, students with a permanent disability and for students with dependants (children under 12);
    • expected student and spousal contributions will be exempted from the calculation of a student’s financial need, which means more students will qualify for financial support; and
    • the cap on Canada Student Loans will be increased from $210 to $350 per week of study.

A pause on the repayment of Canada Student Loans

  • Starting March 30, 2020, repayments of Canada Student Loans are paused for six months for all borrowers. No payment will be required and no interest will be charged on outstanding loans during this time.
  • The repayment pause will happen automatically, and students do not need to apply.
  • Information on Canada Student Grants and Loans is available on

FOR MORE INFORMATION, please visit the Government of Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan.

Download this factsheet as a PDF here.