Today Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education announced a renewed website for online applications for Alberta Student Loans and Grants. Changes to the website studentaid.alberta.ca will make it easier for students to apply for financial aid, and easier for administrators to process the applications. The website now offers more information regarding loan repayment options. CAUS is happy to see these changes to the website, as 80% of students apply online for student aid. The world is becoming digitalized faster than we think, and we constantly need to reach young students where they roam.

The new Student Aid Alberta program is but one change from February when Minister Weadick announced changes to loan eligibility as well. Assumed parental contribution will no longer count as a factor when assessing needs for students. Other restrictions include no interest payments during the six months grace period after graduation, less restrictions on part time student and single mothers in post-secondary. While students welcome these changes, the effects of more debt given to students is still to be determined. Since the recent global recession many forms of non-repayable aid has been cut, and with Alberta’s national status as the lowest province with participation in post-secondary, we need to offer students more grants.