Northern post-secondary institutions are coming together to help make sure young people from low-income families can access federal money for education.
The Northern Promise is an initiative funded by the Federal Government to help young people access the Canada Learning Bond.
“The Canada Learning Bond has been around since 2004, it’s a grant that low-to-moderate income families are eligible for, for post secondary education for their children,” explained Lisa Gardiner with the Northern Lights College and Project Manager for the Northern Promise.
The federal government contributes up to $2,000 in an RESP for an eligible child, including $500 for the first year of eligibility and $100 each the child continues to be eligible.
Gardiner noted that once an eligible person turns 21, they can no longer apply for the Canada Learning Benefit.
“That’s why the Northern Promise is so focused on making sure every eligible young person applies for and receives this money for their education,” she said.
Gardiner noted the application rate in the north is fairly low for the grant.
“Here in Dawson Creek for example, our application to eligibility rate is about 30 per cent,”
“So we know 70 per cent of eligible youth here in Dawson Creek are still eligible for this.”
She added that collectively, the average application to eligibility rate is about 37 per cent across the North.
“There is approximately $78 million of unclaimed Canada Learning Bond funds out there for eligible use in the North,” Gardiner said.
The Northern Promise has launched awareness and promotional efforts to boost up-take to over 41 per cent by January 2024.
They’ve also launched a website with information in applying for the bond.
Additionally, they’re encouraging parents and young people to visit post-secondary institutions’ financial aid offices.