JOHN GRIFFITHSNEWS Contributor
Two thirds of Parksville children in low income families are still missing out on federal grants offering up to $2,000 towards their further education, Parksville city council heard Monday.
Rolanda Murray of Vancouver Island University asked council to spread the word so that all city children born since the beginning of 2004 from homes with under $45,000 income get enrolled in the Canada Learning Bond.
There are 991 eligible children in Parksville, she told council, but only 335 of them are currently enrolled.
“There are 656 eligible children in your community who are not getting it and this means that your community is missing out on $1.3 million in unpaid financing,” she said.
Murray cited statistics indicating that children enrolled in the bond would be four times more likely to take further education than those who reach college age without education funds.
Even families who are aware of the bond are often unsure of how to apply for it, she explained, but Vancouver Island University will help with the paperwork, as will many employees where parents do their banking.
Once enrolled in the Canada Learning Bond, the child receives $500 in a Registered Education Savings Plan and $100 each subsequent year until the age of 15. Families are free to make additional contributions at their discretion.
Vancouver Island University has general information, and more details about the bond can be found on its website at www.viu.ca/clb
“It’s a great program,” concurred Mayor Marc Lefebvre.