News release

Province Closes Student Assistance Gap for Dalhousie University Nursing Students

Eligible Dalhousie University nursing students will have immediate access to additional student assistance funding to help cover costs for the entire duration of their program.

Currently, students in Dalhousie’s accelerated nursing program qualify for funding to cover only 28 weeks of their 34-week program. Students have said the funding gap is one of the main hardships in completing their training.

“We need more nurses, and we need those already here to study and stay in Nova Scotia,” said Premier Tim Houston. “I want our nursing students to know we are listening to their concerns. We’re addressing barriers to completing their studies and giving them the support they need to build a guaranteed and successful career right here at home.”

This change will take effect immediately. The amount of assistance for which students qualify will be based on their need, and assessments of all 250 students will begin today, November 5. The assessments are automatic – students do not need to apply or call the student assistance program.

Students are expected to receive additional funds based on their assessed need within two weeks.

The funding shortfall is unique to the Dalhousie nursing program because of the length of the program. Cape Breton University and St. Francis Xavier University nursing students currently have access to student assistance for the entire duration of their programs.

Eligible post-secondary students, including nursing students, can have up to 100 per cent of their Nova Scotia student loan automatically forgiven after graduation.


This is fantastic news for all Dalhousie nursing students, especially as many students have been struggling because of this gap in funding. I would like to thank the Premier and Minister of Health and Wellness for their quick actions in addressing nursing students’ concerns. The ability to have student loans assessed for the correct number of weeks will help ease our stress around tuition, food and rent. Moreover, it will allow for us to concentrate on finishing our studies and giving back to our community through service. It is a great relief to know that nursing students' voices are heard and turned into concrete actions as we continue to be integral parts of the healthcare continuum and our community. Anika Daclan, Atlantic Regional Director of Canadian Nursing Students’ Association and Co-President of the Dalhousie University Nursing Society

Nurses are a critical part of our healthcare system, and we are fortunate to have such dedicated and talented nursing students studying in our post-secondary institutions. I am pleased our staff could act quickly to close this funding gap, and I will continue to listen to students to hear their ideas and address their concerns. Brian Wong, Minister of Advanced Education

Quick Facts:

  • the average increase in assistance for the Dalhousie students is expected to be about $3,300; the amount per student will vary
  • this assistance will be available for current and future Dalhousie nursing students in the accelerated program
  • approximately 700 nurses graduate every year from Nova Scotia post-secondary institutions

Additional Resources:

Information on Nova Scotia Student Assistance is available at:

Information on the Nova Scotia Loan Forgiveness Program is available at:


Media Contacts:

Catherine Klimek
Premier’s Office Cell: 902-717-1020 Email:
Chrissy Matheson
Advanced Education Cell: 902-471-2444 Email: