On behalf of the Federal Government of Canada, as well as the provinces of B.C., Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Nova Scotia, we conducted a nation-wide research study to determine the key challenges and limitations of student financial assistance for mature learners, and the extent to which current policies and processes present barriers to – or result in the denial of – funding for mature learners.
The study collected a range of national data on: current perceptions of the student financial assistance program by mature learners; how these perceptions influence mature learners to seek or not seek student financial assistance; why some mature learners are being denied aid, and the impact this has on access; and, policy areas that may warrant further consideration.
To complete this study, we oversaw two online quantitative surveys of more than 1000 Canadian mature learners from across the country. The surveys probe a number of issues regarding the experiences of mature learners as it relates to student financial assistance. Additionally, we completed 250 in-depth qualitative telephone interviews with mature learners from across the country in order to collect rich and nuanced data on their experiences. HESA staff were responsible for all aspects of the study, including survey design, delivery, analysis and report writing.