News Release Archive

Discussions on easing the pressures of student debt are under way
between the federal and provincial governments, Education
Minister Robbie Harrison announced today.

Both governments have included initiatives in their recent
budgets aimed at addressing the issue and discussions are
progressing on a federal-provincial agreement.

"I am pleased the federal government has shown its commitment to
the debt issue and has indicated a willingness to discuss
individual programs with each province," said Mr. Harrison. "This
will allow us to create a program tailored to the needs and
concerns of Nova Scotia students."

Debt reduction by loan remission is the Nova Scotia priority. In
1993, the province implemented a program for loan remission which
"forgives" a portion of the student debt based on academic costs
and success in studies. Each year the program saves Nova Scotia
students millions of dollars.

"Reducing debt load is the No. 1 priority for Nova Scotia
post-secondary graduates," said Mr. Harrison. "Federal-provincial
loan forgiveness, income-related repayment plans and weekly loan
limits are part of our ongoing discussions with the federal
government in response to rising student debt."

Approximately half of Nova Scotia students borrow to finance
their education; those graduating in 1997 will have an average
debt of about $20,000.

"A university education continues to be a good investment but we
must ensure our students are not mortgaging their futures," said
Mr. Harrison.

The recent Nova Scotia budget also targeted programs to help
students finance their post-secondary educations while providing
career-related experience. Almost nine out of 10 post-secondary
students who take part in co-operative education find jobs within
six months of graduation. This year Nova Scotia will spend
$700,000 to create more co-op job placements for students.

The government will also consult with the private sector to match
the right student opportunities with employer needs and to
develop incentives for employers to sustain job placements. In
addition, the provincial and federal governments are contributing
another $1.2 million to the Nova Scotia Links program, assisting
with the creation of more than 800 career-related internships
this summer alone. The province has also invested millions to
protect universities from the full impact of reductions in
federal transfer payments.


Contact: Catherine MacIsaac
         Department of Education

trp                     Apr. 25, 1997 - 4:35 p.m.