British Columbia’s Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training has announced a $5-million emergency aid investment for students across the province.
Of that total, $140,000 is available for domestic students and $48,000 is available for Indigenous students at Okanagan College.
“Students and their families in the Okanagan are in a time of financial insecurity like we have never seen before,” said Alex Starker, chairperson of the Okanagan College Students’ Union.
“This investment in emergency funds will help to ensure rent can be paid and food can be on the table during these troubling times.”
Students often rely on precarious, low-wage jobs with limited shifts as they balance their school load with their work life and are highly represented in industries that have been forced to issue layoffs during COVID-19.
The summer is often a time where these students can take advantage of a full-time job for a few months to stockpile funds for the school year, but that’s now an unlikely option as well.
Funding from the provincial government and an additional $15,000 in funding that the Students’ Union has committed to will go a long way to helping these college students in their time of need.
“With layoffs, physical distancing, and classes suddenly being completed online, students and their families have a lot to worry about right now,” said Starker.
“Providing additional relief will go a long way to help those in need be able to stay focused on being successful in their studies.”
Funding at Okanagan College and the province’s other 24 public post-secondary institutions will be administered through each school’s financial aid office.