The Kwantlen Student Association’s executive team approved the new U-Pass Subsidy Program on June 14. The program is designed to ease financial pressure for students who regularly use public transit.
“The U-Pass BC and MultiPass fees for May through August have been reversed from all student accounts. Additionally, for those students who did not make use of their April U-Pass or used less than the value of the pass, a refund has been credited in the amount of the April U-Pass and MultiPass fees,” reads a post on the KSA website.
“Most of the students are facing financial hardship, and because of that, they are paying an expensive [transit] pass,” says Sukhpreet Kaur, KSA’s VP Finance and Operations.
When TransLink suspended the U-Pass program on May 1,the KSA MultiPass program noticed that many students still had to use the transit for their commutes.
To make it easier for them to meet their basic needs, KSA MultiPass put forward the U-pass Subsidy Program, which will subsidize half of a student’s transit fare.
“Let’s say the three-zone pass will be $177. Then KSA will subsidize $88,” says Michelle Lam, KSA MultiPass Program Coordinator.
The subsidy program will run for July and August. The deadline to apply for a July subsidy is July 10, and the deadline for August will be Aug. 14.
“We will use our hardship bursary funding for the subsidy,” says Lam. “If you are a current KPU student who is enrolled in at least one course in the summer semester, then you are eligible to apply for the subsidy.”
The KSA proposed a budget of $10,000 to be used for the subsidy program each month.
Lam says students must prove that they have purchased a monthly transit pass regardless of the zone and provide their bank transit number in order to be eligible. After they have submitted all of the required information, the KSA will review the application and send the necessary funds to cover half of the cost of the monthly pass.
If the U-Pass program is still cancelled for the fall semester, the KSA will continue to offer the U-Pass Subsidy Program.
“The idea is that we really want to help students who need the funding, but since the funding is limited, the submission of an application does not guarantee a subsidy,” says Lam.
She and her colleagues will review the budget each month in order to help as many students as they can.