BUDGET 2023: Maximum BC Student Loans doubled, income-based repayment threshold increased

Feb 28 2023, 10:12 pm

With soaring housing rents and escalating food costs, post-secondary students — especially those studying within Metro Vancouver — are particularly impacted by the current harsh economic climate.

For instance, according to a survey of students by the UBC Alma Mater Student Society, about 40% of undergraduate students and 50% of graduate students “feel food insecure.”

UBC students face steep rent hikes for housing off-campus, as well as in on-campus students residences, where rents are expected to go up by up to 8% in the next school year.

As announced today by BC finance minister Katrine Conroy during her 2023 provincial budget speech, there will be major new financial relief measures for post-secondary students by making significant concessions to the framework of BC Student Loans.

The two-fold changes to provide financial relief during studies and after studies will cost the provincial government $151 million during the fiscal period.

BC Student Loans maximums will be doubled from the current $110 per week to $220 per week for individuals, and from $140 per week to $280 per week for students with dependents. According to the provincial government, this is the first time the BC Student Loans maximums have been increased since 2006. These increases are targeted for implementation starting in June 2023.

Additionally, accounting for the significantly higher living costs in the current economic climate for those who are just starting their careers, the BC student loan threshold for the start of repayment will increase from the existing annual income threshold of $25,000 to the new income threshold of $40,000. As well, the affordable payment amount will be lowered from 20% of annual family income to 10%. These changes with repayment terms will begin in August 2023.

This decision to increase the income level threshold to $40,000 for repayment aligns with the federal government’s repayment assistance program for National Student Loans.

Since 2019, as a direction of the provincial government, BC Student Loans have been interest-free.

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