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Financial Aid Directory

Introduction

In order to fully participate in college and university study, disabled persons must have access to funding which recognizes that there are often extra costs involved when pursuing higher education. It can also take longer for a disabled student to complete an academic program because of a disability. These issues have been a primary focus of the Association's work for many years. In the 1993 NEADS report Study of Financial Assistance Available to Post-Secondary Students With Disabilities: Accommodating Individual Needs For the Future, 44% of the 384 respondents indicated that their total income from all sources (including financial assistance programs) was not sufficient to cover their education-related services and/or equipment costs considering their disability. In the 1996 NEADS study Employment Opportunities For Post-Secondary Students and Graduates With Disabilities, 59% of 424 respondents indicated that their student aid was not sufficient to cover the costs of their education.

During the most recent NEADS conference, held in Ottawa in November of 1998, 115 delegates from across Canada addressed this subject as a central aspect of the conference agenda. In a workshop called "Accessing Funding to Support Post-Secondary Study" delegates explored funding issues and concerns by focusing on familiar programs such as: Canada Student Loans and Canada Study Grants, provincial grants and loans, Employability Assistance for Persons With Disabilities (EAPD) and the Quebec Loans and Bursaries Program. Scholarships, awards and bursaries were also discussed, including the recently launched Millennium Fund Scholarship Program. In these discussions, students identified four key areas of concern:

  1. Financial assistance programs are often not adequate to meet educational costs, including disability-related costs of pursuing higher education.
  2. There is a lack of portability of funding from one part of the country to another, which limits academic options.
  3. There is confusion about how to obtain information on funding programs and which program's students are eligible to access.
  4. Application forms, information guides (i.e. Canada Student Loans Program: Full-time and Part-time Students Information Guide) and other promotional literature are not readily available to students, and what is available is found in many sources, from different offices.

The NEADS National Directory of Financial Assistance Programs for Post-Secondary Students with Disabilities addresses many of these concerns by providing a comprehensive source of information on financial assistance in one document, written in plain language. The directory includes descriptions of funding programs, mailing addresses, telephone and fax numbers and e-mail addresses of contacts for further information. It also lists relevant web sites. Topics covered in different sections of the directory include:

  • The Canada Student Loans Program.
  • Employability Assistance for Persons With Disabilities.
  • Provincial student assistance programs.
  • National and regional scholarships, awards and bursaries.
  • Campus-based scholarships, awards and bursaries.

NEADS would like to thank Human Resources Development Canada, which provided the funding for this project through its Social Development Partnerships Program. The Association hopes that this directory will assist post-secondary students in locating adequate funding for their education costs.

Joby Fleming
President, NEADS



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