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More students should take advantage of 'free' school

Posters line the T.R.U. halls advertising 'free' courses.
May 10, 2013 - 7:12 AM

APPLICATIONS DUE TODAY

The words 'free school' should get the attention of any post-secondary student. With student debt in the tens of thousands of dollars, there may be a way to make the financial burden a bit easier.

StudentAid B.C. facilitates federal grants to low-income students who are Canadian citizens and permanent residents/landed immigrants at a post-secondary institution—potentially every single domestic student.

This is nothing new. It runs all year round to a maximum of $1,200 available per part-time student per year in grants that need not be repaid.

But there is a summer loophole. More students should take advantage of summer grants.

Financial Aid and Awards manager Gordon Down said 99 per cent of full-time students in fall and winter semesters qualify.

"There's no reason why full-time students should need to pay for their first course or two in the summer," he said.

It's more difficult to get grants during the regular school year with an influx of applicants. In the summer, however, fewer students in school means lots of funds available to few people.

Student Financial Advisor at Thompson Rivers University, Lisa Smillie, said most people who are eligible and apply for the grants in the summer at TRU receive them. It's not a lot of money, she admits—about $800 for one course and $1,200 for two—but for students, it's enough to cover tuition, books and supplies, fees, etc. but not living expenses.

For domestic students behind by a class or two or are looking to get ahead, it could mean free school. For those wishing to go back home for the summer or make some cash working, online courses are also eligible.

While the summer course list at TRU is limited, upper-level electives may be out of the question, but it might be a good idea to take basic foundation courses in the summer.

And hey, at least you get your pick of parking spots at TRU for once.

Applications are due six weeks before the date classes end. The application for part-time studies grant funding at T.R.U. for the first summer semester is due May 10.

To contact a reporter for this story, email: jwallace@infotelnews.ca or call (250) 319-7494.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

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