Career Seek: Help to Attend Post-secondary Programs

Career Seek is a program that will allow eligible Income Assistance recipients to continue to receive assistance as they attend university or a post-secondary education program of more than two years. A post-secondary education program is any program that is eligible for student loan purposes in Nova Scotia.

Recipients will not be required to borrow living expenses. Support for basic needs will be provided and will be based on the Standard Household Rate.

Recipients must demonstrate the capability to pay for costs related to tuition, textbooks, student fees, child care and transportation for the duration of the program.

Recipients may apply for a student loan, scholarships, grants, bursaries or other means of assistance to meet these costs. Recipients who apply for a student loan will be required to claim receipt of Income Assistance on the loan application. Failure to do so may result in ineligibility for continued assistance.

Recipients will be required to continue to meet the basic eligibility requirements for Income Assistance during the Career Seek program.

More information is available on the Career Seek Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.


Career Seek is available for individuals who are recipients of Income Assistance and

  • have been in receipt of income assistance for at least 6 months (or a total of 12 months in the past 5 years)
  • have completed a Nova Scotia Employability Assessment and has an Action Plan that supports involvement in post-secondary education
  • have addressed or have a plan to address all barriers that would interfere with their ability to attend and succeed in the post-secondary program
  • have participated in a career exploration session with a departmental caseworker or designate
  • have been unable to attach to the labour market with current skills and education
  • are requesting to engage in a post-secondary program that facilitates connection to the labour market upon completion
  • can demonstrate the capability to pay for all costs related to tuition, textbooks, student fees, child care and transportation for the duration of the post-secondary program
  • have applied to or been accepted by a post-secondary institution which is student loan eligible and approved by the Department of Education

Assistance for a second degree will be provided only in cases where the first degree may be considered a pre-requisite to further study (e.g. B.A. for a B.S.W.) or the student is enrolled in a concurrent degree program (e.g. B.A. and B.Ed.). Career Seek will provide support for undergraduate degree programs only, and will not consider requests to support graduate, master or doctoral programs.

Next steps

You need to meet with your caseworker who will complete and/or review your Nova Scotia Employability Assessment and Action Plan with you to ensure that participating in career seek is a viable employability activity for you. Your caseworker will also work with you to ensure that any barriers that you may have that might interfere with your ability to successfully participate and succeed are removed.

Next, your caseworker will arrange for you to participate in a career assessment process. The results will be used to support your application. You will be asked to write a letter of intent to the Steering Committee. This is your chance to talk about why you want to take this particular program of study, and what you want to do upon graduation.

Then your application for approval to participate (and the supporting documentation) is forwarded to a regional Steering Committee. This Committee reviews all applications, and will provide each applicant with a decision regarding participation in Career Seek. You will receive written notification of their decision. If you are not found eligible for the program, the letter will provide you with the reasons for this decision.

You can start the application process at any time with your Employment Support Services caseworker. If you are in receipt of Income Assistance and don’t have an Employment Support Services caseworker, please contact your Income Assistance caseworker to request a referral for an assessment.