March 26, 2019
For Immediate Release
Halifax, NS – Today, Students Nova Scotia (StudentsNS) is pleased to see the Province prioritize post-secondary students through investments into on-campus mental health resources and sexual violence prevention in Budget 2019-20, however is discouraged by the minimal funding for universities and changes to Nova Scotia Student Assistance.
StudentsNS is excited to see the government adopt our recommendations and invest $600,000 into on-campus e-mental health resources and $470,000 for post-secondary sexual violence prevention.
“As an organization dedicated to improving the affordability, accessibility, and quality of our post-secondary education system, we are very glad to see the government take action to better support our students,” said Ossama Nasrallah, Vice-Chair of StudentsNS and President of the Saint Mary’s University Student Association. “This funding provides more resources for students and helps to address the critical issues of mental health and sexual violence on our campuses.”
The budget also allocates $3.6 million to maintain existing 1% annual increases to university operating grants and makes major alterations to Nova Scotia Student Assistance. These alterations include the expansion of the loan forgiveness program to forgive the entire provincial student loan and removes the 40% grant portion of student assistance from students who leave the province to pursue post-secondary.
“We are concerned about the changes to Nova Scotia Student Assistance and believe they will both positively and negatively impact students,” said Tristan Bray, Executive Director of StudentNS. “For some students, the expansion of the loan forgiveness program to forgive the entire provincial loan portion will likely increase access to post-secondary and reduce debt, however for students who leave the province to pursue post-secondary, the removal of the grant portion will increase debt and is quite simply taking away non-repayable financial aid from students who have qualified for and need that aid.”
StudentsNS represents 20,000 undergraduate, graduate, and college students across Nova Scotia, and looks forward to continue working collaboratively with the Province to improve the accessibility, affordability, quality, and the role of the student voice in our post-secondary system.
For more information, contact:
Tristan Bray, Executive Director