Published Date: June 21, 2016
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Income and Employment Supports Act, Division 3, Section 10
Income Supports, Training and Health Benefits Regulation, Part 2
Training Provider Regulation, Section 2
To help Albertans with low income, access funding for part-time training to acquire the skills they need to improve their employability, obtain sustainable employment, and become self-sufficient through increased income.
To ensure increased access to training opportunities for individuals who are unable to participate in full-time training programs or individuals for whom part-time training may be the most appropriate option.
To be eligible for a Skills Investment Bursary, an individual is recommended as needing part-time training in order to gain or improve skills needed for employment and/or further training that will lead to employment.
The maximum, cumulative amount issued for the Skills Investment Bursary is $5,000 per calendar year: January 01 to December 31.
The following training benefits are provided up to the maximum amount for incremental costs necessary to participate in part-time training:
- tuition, mandatory fees and student association fees,
- books and supplies,
- installation and monthly fees for a basic internet package, if the learner does not currently have internet access and if access is required for successful participation in this training,
- transportation costs if there is an assessed need to attend this training,
- child care costs if there is an assessed need to attend this training.
An individual is eligible to receive the Skills Investment Bursary if they meet the following eligibility criteria:
- Need for Training
An individual must have a need for training to obtain sustainable employment or improve their employment situation and earning potential.
- Ready, Willing and Able
An individual must be ready, willing and able to attending training.
- Age and Out of School
An individual must be at least 18 years of age and not have attended an education program recognized under Alberta's School Act or similar institution for 12 consecutive months. This requirement may be waived at the discretion of the Executive Director, Employment and Financial Program Policy
- Approved Training Program
An individual must be enrolled and accepted in an approved training program with less than 60% of a full-time course load to be eligible for funding under the Skills Investment Bursary.
- have an established Alberta address or an established address with the city of Lloydminster
- be in Alberta at the time of acceptance into the approved training program.
Individuals must be a:
- Canadian citizen, or
- permanent resident of Canada, or
- refugee who has been accepted to apply for permanent residency in Canada and is legally entitled to work and study in Canada.
Any applicant with a Social Insurance Number that begins with ‘9’, regardless of what Citizenship category has been indicated on the application, must provide a Notice of Decision, a Study Permit that covers the individual’s entire period of training, and a Work Permit that extends past the end date of training to allow time for a job search.
A person is not eligible to receive a part time training benefit if the person is incarcerated due to being charged with or convicted of an offence, or unable to work because of a condition of his or her sentence or release.
Applicants applying for the Skills Investment Bursary must not have a similar benefit that has been provided through another program or have been approved for a student loan for the same program/course as applied for on the Skills Investment Bursary application.
Assured Income Support for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) benefit recipients are considered to be financially eligible without further review of their financial circumstances.
ETW/BFE and full-time learners are considered to be financially eligible without further review of their financial circumstances. ETW/BFE clients must apply for their tuition, mandatory and student association fees, books and supplies, transportation, and internet fees by completing the Skills Investment Bursary application. If childcare expenses are required to attend part-time training, the ETW/BFE client must request these benefits from their Supports and Financial Services Coordinator. ETW/BFE clients must be advised to notify their Supports and Financial Services Coordinator/Career and Employment Consultant prior to applying for or attending part-time training.
To be eligible for funding under the Skills Investment Bursary, an individual (and their spouse/partner) must not have combined incomes that exceed the yearly income threshold level (see below):
Household Unit Size
For each additional child add $5,000.
- The individual’s net income from line 236 of the individual’s current tax return is used to calculate the total family income.
- Spouse/Partner’s net income from line 236 of the spouse/partner’s current tax return is used to calculate the total family income.
- Included in the calculation of income is non-taxable child support payments received by the individual and their spouse/partner in the preceding tax year, if applicable.
- The allowable limit of Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) purchased before studies commenced, with a total combined value owned by the learner and/or spouse/partner up to $100,000.
- Must not have combined liquid assets that exceed $5,000. Liquid assets include savings and cash assets or convertible assets such as stocks, bonds, Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs), term deposits, and securities.
Financial Eligibility for Ongoing Funding
The learner is required to meet all eligibility criteria to continue to receive funding. The learner will also be required to make acceptable progress.
An individual who is seeking funding for part-time training is expected to:
- complete all required information on the application
- report any changes in personal or financial situation; including withdrawal from training
- complete and pass all of the training provider’s course requirements within the time specified
- comply with training provider rules; including acceptable progress and attendance
- if working, continue to work full or part-time while in training
- Employment Insurance (EI) recipients should consult with Economic Social Development Canada about collecting EI benefits while attending part-time training.
Funding received through the Skills Investment Bursary is taxable. In February of each year, T4As are issued for all learners who received a bursary in excess of $500 during the previous tax year. The T4A will be mailed to the learner’s last known address.
Part-time courses may be taken in a classroom, by distance learning, synchronous or a-synchronous or as a combination of classroom and distance learning.
Learners may be eligible for funding to participate part-time in the following approved programs:
- Work Foundations
- English as a Second Language (ESL)
- Basic Skills Training (Grades 1–6)
- Adult Basic Education (Grades 7–9)
- Academic Upgrading (Grade 10–12)
- Academic upgrading courses that have been accepted for equivalency and are listed in the current edition of the 'Alberta Transfer Guide' published by Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer
- University/College Entrance Preparation
- TOEFL Preparation
- Technical Entrance Preparation
- Employability training (Life Skills, Personal Management)
- Training for Work
Proof of Language Proficiency
To receive funding for ESL courses through the Skills Investment Bursary, an individual must provide proof of their English language proficiency before they receive funding. See the English as a Second Language (ESL) policy for more information on eligibility requirements and proof of language proficiency.
The following are not eligible for a Skills Investment Bursary:
- a course is part of a university or college transfer program, degree, applied degree, undergraduate or post-degree program,
- a course for journeyman certificate upgrading, or
- a diploma or certificate program that is 12 weeks or longer in duration,
- continuing education programs that are not a component of a full-time program and do not result in an industry-recognized certificate or credential issued on completion.
Individuals who have a documented disability that prevents participation in full-time studies and who meet all other eligibility criteria may qualify as a full-time learner with a reduced course load (less than 60% of a full course load). In this case they are not considered a part-time learner.
When a part-time learner is being withdrawn from training, the training provider must follow the Never Attended and Withdrawal policy.
Applying for the Skills Investment Bursary
To apply for part-time funding, an individual may be required to complete a Service Needs Determination (SND) assessment by an HS authorized official.
They must complete and sign a Skills Investment Bursary Application for Part-Time Study (EMP5571) and have their training provider complete the Training Provider Information form. Applications and forms can be completed online or downloaded from the above link and submitted to the Learner Income Support Office (LISO) in paper form .
A learner who submits an application for funding after the course is completed is deemed ineligible and the application will not be processed.
If the learner is enrolled in more than one course, and there is a gap of 30 days or more between the end date of one course and the start date of the next course, a separate application must be submitted for each course.
Individuals need to report changes to personal information by submitting a Change In Circumstances form to LISO. Changes include but are not limited to: name, phone number, address, variance in assets or income, change in academic status, etc. This will help to ensure accurate data and to assist in maintaining learner eligibility for future funding .
Learners may be asked to take part in information verification activities which are initiated by LISO. In such cases, learners would be required to provide receipts for authorized expenses. If receipts cannot be produced, repayment of expenses may be required by the learner for such expenses.
If an individual is not satisfied with the award, they may submit a notice of appeal to LISO requesting a review. If unsatisfied with the result of the review, the individual may appeal the decision to the Income and Employment Supports Appeal Panel.
Individuals who choose not to submit a Skills Investment Bursary Application will not receive a formal decision regarding their eligibility and therefore cannot appeal.
- Online Skills Investment Bursary Application for Part-Time Study
- Skills Investment Bursary Application for Part-Time Study (EMP5571)
- Training Provider Information form