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Harper to announce expansion of the Canada Student Grant Program

Harper is shown rising to vote in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Monday March 30, 2015.
Harper is shown rising to vote in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Monday March 30, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

TORONTO – Global News has learned Prime Minister Harper will announce an expansion of the Canada Student Grant Program today in Vancouver.

A senior government source said eligibility requirements will be loosened to include short duration college and university programs.

Currently  the financial assistance grant – money that does not need to be paid back– goes to low and middle income students enrolled in programs that are at least 60 weeks long.

With these changes, students enrolled in shorter courses will now be able to apply for the monthly grant, typically $100 for middle-income students, and $250 for low-income students.

The government estimates that the change will benefit 40,000 students across the country.

Ottawa invests $10 Billion each year on post-secondary education – including the Canada Student Grant, which benefits 357,000 students.

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Finance Minister Joe Oliver announced last Thursday, the Conservative government will table their belated 2015-16 budget on April 21. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Oliver have pledged to balance the budget ahead of a looming federal election.