September 26th, 2017
For Immediate Release
Halifax, NS – Today, students are happy to see the Government of Nova Scotia invest in their education with the announcement of the 2017/2018 Budget. The budget expands student financial aid and also introduces the new Innovate to Opportunity program.
“There is always more work to be done for post-secondary students in Nova Scotia, particularly in the areas of financial aid, student employment, and mental health,” said Samantha Nixon, Vice Chair of StudentsNS. “Nonetheless, today’s announcement demonstrates that the government hears student concerns and is willing to collaborate to find solutions.”
The most significant investment in the budget for students is the implementation of StudentsNS’ recommendations to increase the weekly loan allowance from $180/week to $200/week and expand loan forgiveness from the first four years of an undergraduate degree to five. Additionally, government introduces the Innovate to Opportunity program that will assist Masters and PhD students get hired in research and innovation-focused jobs. The enhancement of the Graduate to Opportunity program will help to increase the hiring of graduates from underrepresented groups. Finally, government commits to eliminating tuition for apprenticeship students completing technical training at NSCC.
“It’s clear government is working towards greater graduate retention in the province,” said Annie Sirois, Chair of StudentsNS. “However, in order to be competitive with other provinces the Government of Nova Scotia needs to do more to help students first and foremost access post-secondary education, especially those from historically marginalized backgrounds.”
Another notable item in the budget includes funding for youth mental health supports, however it lacks post-secondary specific mental health initiatives.
StudentsNS looks forward to working with the government to further improve the accessibility, affordability, quality, and role of the student voice in the post-secondary education system. Recognizing the economic climate of Nova Scotia, StudentsNS thanks the government for their continuing investment in post-secondary education.
For more information, please contact:
Tristan Bray, Executive Director