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Mental Health

Funding Options for Students with Mental Illness

Coralie McCormick and Sylvie Martel

Reprinted from "Supported Education" issue of Visions Journal, 2003, No. 17, p. 37-38

Canada Student Loans

Description

The federal government (through Canada Student Loans) and the provincial government (through BCSAP: BC Student Assistance Program), provide low-interest loans to full-time and part-time students across Canada and BC. Loan remission for a portion of amount owing may be made available upon graduation, while those youth who do not qualify for Canada Student Loans because of a high family income can apply for BC Youth Foundations Loans. For more information on Canada Student Loans, see www.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/student_loans. For information on BCSAP, see www.aved.gov.bc.ca/studentservices

Access

Application forms can be accessed at post-secondary institutions across BC or online at www.aved.gov.bc.ca/studentservices/ila/ (Applying online is only available to students attending a BC public institution (including Trinity Western University), CDI College of Business & Technology and CompuCollege School of Business. Students attending other schools will need to complete a paper-based application)

Canada Study Grant

Description

There is a Canada Study Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities. The Grant is for education-related disability expenses only, not direct costs, and could include aids such as a computer, note-taker, or wheelchair (up to $8000). Applications should be submitted with Canada Student Loan applications. Additional grants may be available for high-need, part-time students, people with dependents, and women in doctoral studies. Information at www.neads.ca.

Access

Contact your institution's financial aid office and/or the campus disability office for more information about applying.

Canada Millennium Scholarship Foundation

Description

This foundation administers scholarships based on a combination of need and merit. Applicants need to have a minimum 40% course load if they have a permanent disability to quality for the scholarship. For more information, call 1-800-561-1818 or go to www.milleniumscholarships.ca or www.aved.gov.bc.ca/studentservices/student/grant.htm where you can also find information about BC Study Grants.

Access

Submit your application with your application for Canada Student Loans and BCSAP.

EI and EI Reachback

Description

This program is for those who have collected regular or illness-related Employment Insurance Benefits in the past three years, or Maternity/Paternity benefits in the past five years. Support for training/educational expenses, self-employment support, and targeted wage subsidies may be available. At regional Human Resources Centres, applicants can make appointments with local contractors for eligibility assessments. Skills Development Program: www18.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/programs/skills/desc.asp

Access

Contact your Local Human Resources Centre. For information, see your phone book or visit www.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/menu/profile-search.shtml#100

Opportunities Fund

Description

This program is meant for people with disabilities who are not eligible for EI or EI Reachback programs. Applicants must have a documented disability and undergo an assessment and application procedure before being considered eligible for educational/training funding opportunities, subsidized on-the-job training, or a self-employment program. For more information, call 1-800-788-8282 or go to www.hrdc.gc.ca/epb-dgpe/ofpd-fiph/menu/home.shtml

Access

Contact your Local Human Resources Centre. For information, see your phone book or visit www.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/menu/profile-search.shtml#100

ABESAP: Adult Basic Education Student Assistance Program

Description

This is a provincially-administered program that, depending on regional availability, offers funding for direct educational costs (tuition, books, and supplies). This program is primarily for students who have not completed high school and who are attending a public post-secondary institution, although there are exceptions. The purpose is skills upgrading and may include academic upgrading, pre-vocational English-language training, and adult special education.

Access

Some of the programs are not directed specifically towards people with disabilities, although some categorized as adult special education or pre-vocational are geared towards people with disabilities.

Consumer Initiative Funds

Description

Local mental health centres or clubhouses may provide funding opportunities for accessing courses, for educational opportunities and/or recreational expenses. Support is nominal, and may or may not be offered in all communities. Eligibility varies at the local level.

Access

Contact your local mental health centre or your local clubhouse. For phone numbers, contact the BC Mental Health Information Line at 1-800-661-2121.

Bursaries

Description

The Lorne Fraser Fund (see page 9), THEO (see page 29) and the BC Coalition of People with Disabilities (BCCPD) all provide funding opportunities for people with mental illness. Regionally-specific funds may be available through health authorities or other agencies. (e.g., page 36)

Access

Contact BCCPD at (604) 872-1278. Contact your local health authority or other community agencies regarding local funds.

Ministry of Human Resources

Description

Local access to Ministry of Human Resources programs can provide training opportunities to people accessing Employment Assistance or Assistance for Persons with Disability Designation. Training for Jobs provides training opportunities to people on assistance. Pre-employment Services contractors provide people with disabilities opportunities for life-skills training and pre-employment support. THese are new programs, and should be available in early 2003. A more comprehensive program providing training/educational programs for people with disabilities should be available by mid-2003. In the meantime, Vocational Rehabilitation Services funding has been extended for people on disability at contracted agencies in most communities.

Access

Contact your Employment Assistance Worker for information about referral to training programs in your area. For more information on these and upcoming programs, see the Ministry of Human Resources web site and reference fact sheets. Information about the Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities can also be accessed at www.gov.bc.ca/mhr

Canada Pension Plan Vocational Rehabilitation

Description

Vocational rehabilitation is available for individuals receiving CPP Disability Benefits. This is a voluntary program for those who are stable and considered suitable to participate in a work-related rehabilitation program. Services offered include guidance to determine your needs, skills, goals, and any educational upgrading required to return to work. Once a return-to-work plan is in place, if upgrading is required, CPP may cover the costs to allow the client to retrain while maintaining their benefits.

Access

For more information on eligibility and services available to those receiving CPP disability benefits, contact HRDC toll-free at 1-800-461-3422 or www.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/isp/cpp/vocational_e.shtml

BC Permanent Disability Benefits Program

Description

This loan forgiveness program assists permanently-disabled borrowers experiencing financial hardship in repaying their student loans. The applicant must have a Person with a Disability (PWD) or Persistent Multiple Barriers (PMB) designation. Those successful in their application will have their student loan paid out by the Provincial Student Financial Aid office. This program will only cover the provincial portion of the student loan; the federal portion may be covered under the Federal Permanent Disability Benefits Program and requires a separate application.

Access

For more information regarding eligibility and the application process, call (604) 660-2610 or (250) 387-6100 or visit www.aved.gov.bc.ca/studentservices/student/finish/debt_red/bc_dis.htm

Federal Permanent Disability Benefits Program

Description

This loan forgiveness program is available to students with a permanent disability who are experiencing difficulty repaying their Canada Student Loan due to their disability. It is only applicable however to the federal portion of a student loan. Applicants must have exhausted their eligibility under the Federal Interest Relief Program and must demonstrate that their disability will affect their lifetime earning potential.

Access

For more information regarding this program, contact the Canada Student Loans Program toll free at 1-888-432-7377 or www.aved.gov.bc.ca/studentservices/student/finish/debt_red_fed_dis.htm

 
About the authors
Coralie and Sylvie are both Research Assistants with CMHA BC’s Supported Employment Initiative

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