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Government Funding - Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia, Canada Student Loans are available alongside Nova Scotia Student Loans (NSSL). However, since provincial authorities administer the Canada Student Loan Program, students in Nova Scotia only need to submit a Nova Scotia Student Assistance application to be considered for both federal and provincial assistance. The following is an overview of the general federal and provincial loans available in Nova Scotia, as well as specific loans and grants available to students with permanent disabilities.

Student Loans

Student loans are available to provide financial assistance during the course of your education. The Canada Student Loans Program enables students to attend a post-secondary institution by providing them with loans to cover the costs of going to school. The amount of the loan is different for each student and is based on the individual’s assessed financial need. It is important to note, however, that Canada Student loans are meant to supplement your resources, not replace them.

Full-Time Student Loans

As a full-time student in Nova Scotia, you are eligible for up to $210 per week in federal loans. One of the benefits of the full-time Student Loans Program is that it does not charge interest until you have left school. Interest accumulates from the month after you graduate or stop going to school, but you are not required to make payments until six months later.

As a full-time student in Nova Scotia, you are also eligible for up to $150 per week in provincial loans. This amount is negotiable halfway through your program and consists of:

  • $120 per week of study- Nova Scotia Student Loan
  • $30 per week of study- Nova Scotia Student Grant

To be eligible for a full-time student loan in Nova Scotia:

  • You must be a resident of Nova Scotia
  • You must be enrolled in a degree, diploma or certificate program that runs for at least 12 weeks in a 15-week period at a designated institution
  • You must be taking at least 60% of a full course load

Part-Time Student Loans

As a part-time student in Nova Scotia, you are eligible for up to $10,000 total in federal loans.  Part-time Canada Student Loans differ from full-time loans in that interest accumulates while you are in school. However, part-time students are not required to make principal payments until they graduate or stop going to school.

To be eligible for a part-time student loan:

  • You must be enrolled in a degree, diploma or certificate program that runs for at least 12 weeks in a 15-week period at a designated institution
  • You must be taking between 20% to 59% of a full course load

Canada Student Loans for Students with Permanent Disabilities

The Canada Student Loans Program recognizes that physical and learning disabilities may mean that it takes longer to complete a program of study. As a student with a permanent disability in Nova Scotia, your reduced requirements include:

  • For full-time funding: You must be enrolled in at least 40% of a full course load
  • For part-time funding: You must be enrolled in between 20% to 39% of a full course load. However, if you are studying between 40% to 59% of a full course load, you can choose to be considered a part-time student.
  • To accommodate a reduced course load, you have an extended eligibility of up to 520 weeks of study

To Apply for Student Loans in Nova Scotia:

  • Students should submit applications six weeks before the start of classes for a given semester; however students are encouraged to apply as early as possible.
  • Students must apply for a student loan each year, as a single application can be processed for a maximum of 52 weeks.

Nova Scotia Student Grant

If a student in Nova Scotia has an assessed financial need greater than the provincial student loan maximum, they are eligible for a Nova Scotia Student Grant. In this case, a non-repayable grant will be issued to cover 20% of the total Nova Scotia Student Loan. For example, if a student qualifies for the maximum $150 per week of study in NSSL, they will receive $120 in a repayable loan and $30 in a non-repayable grant for each week of study in which they are enrolled.

Federal Grants for Students with Permanent Disabilities

As a student with a permanent disability in Nova Scotia, you are eligible to receive:

A Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities

You may receive $2,000 per school year to help cover the costs of accommodations, tuition and books. This grant may exceed your accessed need. For example, if your accessed need is determined to be $1,200, you may still receive a non-repayable grant for $2,000.

There is no separate application for this grant. Your eligibility will be automatically assessed if you include verification of permanent disability when applying for a full-time Canada Student Loan.

A Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities

You may receive up to $8,000 per school year to cover exceptional education-related costs associated with your disability.

How to apply for a Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities:

  • There is a separate application for this grant: http://psds.ednet.ns.ca/canada_study_grant.shtml
  • You must also provide written confirmation from a person qualified to make this confirmation, that you have exceptional education-related costs associated with your disability.
  • You must provide the exact cost of the equipment or services.

Permanent Disability Benefit

Students with severe permanent disabilities in Nova Scotia are eligible for the Permanent Disability Benefit. If you have a severe permanent disability, you may have your loans immediately forgiven. For more information on the Permanent Disability Benefit or on what qualifies as a severe permanent disability visit: http://www.canlearn.ca/eng/after/cant/hpd.shtml

Repayment Assistance Plan for Borrowers with Permanent Disabilities

Students with permanent disabilities who are having difficulty paying back their student loans are eligible for the Repayment Assistance Plan for Borrowers with Permanent Disabilities (RAP-PD). RAP-PD makes debt repayment easier for students with permanent disabilities by allowing them to pay back what they can reasonable afford.

Under RAP-PD:

  • Loan payments are base on family income, family size and disability related expenses
  • Students will not make loan payments exceeding 20% of their income (on loans covered by RAP-PD)
  • In some cases, students will not have to make any loan payments until their income increases
  • No student with a permanent disability should have a repayment period longer than 10 years

Provincial Access Grant

Students with permanent disabilities are automatically assessed for the Provincial Access Grant when they apply for a Nova Scotia Student Loan. However, students must ensure that they have included a pre-study report when applying to NSSL. Students with permanent disabilities are eligible to receive a check for any unmet financial need after receiving the maximum student loans and other grants they may have been eligible for. The maximum grant available is $2,000 per year if students are attending a university and $1,000 per year if students are attending a college. For more information on the Provincial Access Grant see:
http://psds.ednet.ns.ca/provincial_access_grant.shtml

For more information on financial assistance available in Nova Scotia see:

Nova Scotia Student Assistance Office
Tel.: 902-424-8420
Toll-free: 1-800-565-8420 (within Canada)
TTY: 902-424-2058
www.studentloans.ednet.ns.ca