This special edition of This Week @ York provides information and resources on COVID-19 related financial assistance offered by the Federal and Provincial governments and York University. Please note that any information related to changes due to COVID-19 found in this newsletter has already been communicated to the community and can be found on York’s COVID-19 Financial Assistance webpage. This information is accurate at the newsletter’s time of publication.
This Week @ York for Week of May 21, 2020
These are some of the student-specific financial assistance programs, awards and policy changes from the Federal government that may address your financial needs at this time:
- Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). The CESB is a temporary income support for post-secondary students and new post-secondary graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) or Employment Insurance (EI). The benefit is $1,250 per month or $2,000 per month for students with dependents or those with a disability.
- Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG) The CSSG is being launched as a national service initiative to recognize students’ contributions to COVID-19 efforts by providing up to $5,000 to support students’ postsecondary education costs in the fall.
- Canada Student Loans (CSLP) and Canada Student Grants (CSG). To address additional financial needs of students caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government proposes to change the Canada Student Loan Program’s eligibility requirements in 2020-21 to allow more students to qualify for supports and be eligible for greater amounts, including doubling the non-repayable Canada Student Grants for full-and part-time students, as well as for students with disabilities and students with dependents, in the coming academic year.
- Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). From March 30, 2020 to September 30, 2020 you will not be required to make any OSAP loan payments and interest will not accrue on your student loans. For more York-specific information about OSAP, visit York’s OSAP website.
Other Federal government assistance programs include:
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). If you have stopped working because of COVID-19, the CERB may provide you with temporary income support. It provides $500 a week for up to 16 weeks.
- Canada Employment Insurance Benefits and Sickness Benefits (EI). If you have recently applied for EI regular or sickness benefits, you will be automatically assessed for eligibility for the CERB.
Provincial government assistance programs include:
- Ontario Emergency Assistance. You may qualify if you live in Ontario, are in a crisis or emergency situation, and do not have enough money for things like food and housing.
- Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Ontario has made additional resources available to enable Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) to provide additional assistance for those currently receiving social assistance, who are facing additional costs related to COVID-19.
York University has created a number of new awards, bursaries and scholarships to assistant students with COVID-19 related financial needs.
- Emergency bursaries. York has established a number of bursaries to help all students who require immediate short-term financial relief because of unexpected expenses in March and April 2020. Learn more about eligibility and application deadlines at the link above.
- International student support. International students may be eligible for awards and bursaries that address their specific COVID-19 related financial needs for Summer 2020 and Fall/Winter 2020-2021. Learn more about eligibility and application deadlines at the link above.
In addition to establishing awards and bursaries, York has instituted a number of temporary policy changes to assist with COVID-19 related financial relief, including the following.
- Changes to interest assessments. Undergraduate and graduate students will not be charged interest on outstanding student account balances from May to August 2020. This includes on-campus housing fees.
- Financial block threshold. There have been some changes to the threshold for student account outstanding balances that may have previously blocked you from being able to enrol in courses. If you previously had a financial block, you can now enrol in courses as long as you are in good academic standing and your current student account balance is below $1,500 for domestic students or $3,500 for international students.
- Course drop refunds. The deadline for receiving full or partial refunds for dropped courses was amended to allow students more flexibility to drop courses without financial penalty.
Note: If you enrol in courses for the Summer 2020 session and later decide not to continue in these courses, please be sure to drop the courses through the Registration and Enrolment Module (REM) as early as possible to free up space for other students who may be waiting to add those courses for the summer.
- Refund exemptions for returning exchange students. New refund policies have been approved for students who were required to return home early from exchange programs. For more information, please contact York International at email@example.com.
- Supplementary and associated course fees. Some supplementary and associated course fee charges, for services that York is not able to offer remotely, have been reduced or waived.
- Changes to financial petitions. Eligibility and supporting documentation requirements for financial petitions have been relaxed.
- Graduate student financial assistance. The Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) Financial Resources page provides detailed information on additional financial resources available to graduate students.
Along with the financial supports listed above, there are many additional resources still available to you during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- If you need to speak with a Student Financial Services representative to discuss your personal financial needs, they are available by telephone, online chat and email.
- If you wish to speak with a counsellor at Student Counselling & Development for single-session or emergency support, they are also available for online and remote service.
- For additional mental health resources, check out This Week @ York Mental Health Special Edition which highlighted a series of supports and services to help you with your mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic.