News Release Archive

Nova Scotia's student leaders and the Department of Education and
Culture have taken a united message to the federal government: a
federal loan forgiveness program to reduce student debt load is
the top priority. The message was presented at a meeting among
student leaders and representatives of the federal and provincial

"We have been meeting with our student leaders in Nova Scotia and
have reached consensus that reducing debt load is our No. 1
priority," said Education and Culture Minister Robbie Harrison. 
"This meeting with federal representatives was an important
opportunity to take a united voice to the table."

Students brought to the meeting several options for managing and
reducing student debt, including work-study programs,
income-related loan remission, increasing the amount students can
earn during the school year, and the critical need for a federal
loan remission program similar to the Nova Scotia program. 

Loan remission on the Nova Scotia portion of student loans saves
students millions annually. The province implemented its loan
remission program in 1993. Loan remission "forgives" a portion of 
student debt, based on academic program costs and success in
their studies. A complementary federal program would mean a
significant reduction in the amount students would have to pay
back after graduation.

Sheldon Shaw, president of the Students' Union of Nova Scotia,
echoed the need for federal participation in debt reduction.
"Although improving interest relief programs helps, it does
nothing to improve a student's overall debt load. Given the value
of an educated population to our country, the federal government
must take steps to ensure higher education remains affordable to
all Canadians."

Approximately half of Nova Scotia students borrow to finance
their education. Those graduating in 1997 will have an average
debt of about $20,000. The province will continue meetings with
the federal government on a new student loan agreement throughout
the fall.

"Students are working hard researching and finding solutions,"
said Mr. Harrison. "We will continue working together to create
an agreement with the federal government that works best for Nova
Scotia students."


Contact: Catherine MacIsaac
         Education and Culture

ngr                 August 27, 1997 - 2:25 pm