Nova Scotia recently announced that it will be eliminating interest on student loans.
Life just got a little easier for post-secondary students in Nova Scotia. The provincial government recently announced that it will be eliminating interest charges on provincial student loans, joining two other provinces who have already done so.
In a move designed to take some of the financial burden off young graduates, Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan announced that it will help them save money as they start their careers. “Eliminating the interest on provincial loans was our commitment from day one, and we’re keeping our promise to students,” Regan stated. “We know that every dollar counts when graduates are beginning their careers, and we hope this provides some relief to young people as they build their lives in Nova Scotia.”
Although the decision falls short of a grant that would help students avoid debt altogether, executive director of Students Nova Scotia, Jonathan Williams, says: “It’s a modest investment but it’s an important one. I think it’s going to make the program more attractive. It alleviates that worry that students are going to have that their debt is going to grow after graduation and it’s going to make it easier for them to pay off those loans faster. It’s definitely a good step in improving the student assistance program.”
Every year about 18,000 students take out a provincial loan in Nova Scotia, all of whom may be in line to benefit from the $1.6 million government program. To apply, a student must meet certain qualifications such as being a resident of Nova Scotia, graduating from an ‘approved, designated post-secondary school’, having a Nova Scotia government-sponsored “direct-lend’ loan, and having started repayment of their loan on or after November 1, 2007.
Even though the program doesn’t apply to federal portions of student loans, graduates who meet the criteria stand to save about $800 on the average Nova Scotia student loan amount of $5,600.
So far, the only other provinces who have supported students through an interest-free loan program are Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island.