Budget Makes Historic Investment in Student Assistance
Labour and Advanced Education
April 5, 2011 4:01 PM
Post secondary education will be more affordable for Nova Scotia students after measures introduced in the provincial budget today, April 5.
A total of $42.5 million is being invested this year to improve student assistance.
"This budget makes life better for students and provides even more financial support for post-secondary education this year than in the past," said Labour and Advanced Education Minister Marilyn More.
Tuition levels will be held below the national average through an ongoing, $30-million investment in student bursaries. This new, provincially funded commitment will provide a tuition reduction of $1,283 for all Nova Scotia students studying in the province and $261 for out-of-province students.
Other benefits to students are provided through a $12.5-million investment in the province's student assistance program.
For the first time in the province's history, a debt cap will place a ceiling on the amount of debt a student can carry. The debt cap is $28,560, a reduction of 36 per cent, or $16,320 in the amount of debt a student can accumulate.
The amount of available grants has also increased. Students can now receive up to $612 in additional grants for a typical, 34 week program, through an increase in the grant-to-loan ratio, from 20 to 30 per cent.
Other measures to make post-secondary education more affordable include:
-- an increase of weekly maximum assistance rates from $150 to $160 per week
-- double the in-study earnings exemption on student loads from $50 to $100 per week
-- a 50 per cent increase in the book allowance, from $1,000 to $1,500
-- continuation of the Graduate Retention Program, which provides a tax credit of up to $15,000 to university graduates, and $7,500 for community college graduates, over six years
An average student graduating from a four year undergrad program in 2015 will receive increased grants of $2,448 and increased loan assistance of $1,360 over four years.
"Post secondary education provides a tremendous advantage to the individual, their families and the economy and we're committed to making it accessible," said Ms. More. "We wanted to improve assistance to as many students as possible and I'm pleased to say that we've made considerable progress."
"All of the student assistance measures in this budget are good news for Nova Scotia students," said Mark Coffin, Executive Director of the Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations. "It's clear that the students with the highest need will be helped the most with this plan."
Premier Darrell Dexter announced that significant improvement in student assistance was a major goal for the province this year, after Tim O'Neil's report and student representatives highlighted the fact that Nova Scotian students had the largest debt load in Canada.
FOR BROADCAST USE:
A university or college education is more affordable today
(April 5th) for Nova Scotia students.
The provincial budget has invested forty-two-and-a-half
million dollars in improvements to student assistance.
Thirty million dollars a year in bursaries will keep tuition
levels below the national average.
The budget provides more grants to students. And for the
first time, sets a cap on student debt.
Labour and Advanced Education Minister Marilyn More says the
government wanted to make improvements for as many students as
possible. She says that with this budget, the province has made
Media Contact: Karen Stone
Labour and Advanced Education