StudentsNS was founded in 2003 as the Alliance of Nova Scotia Student Associations (ANSSA). Students had 
identified an urgent need for a united voice in Nova Scotia, where they faced the highest tuition in Canada, underfunded universities and no needs-based grants, leading to a steady decline in enrolment levels across the province.

Its founding members were the Acadia Students’ UnionDalhousie Students’ UnionSaint Mary’s University Students’ Association, and the St. Francis Xavier University Students’ Union

The new organization was established to advocate on behalf of students with all levels of government, with institutions, in the media, and within Nova Scotia communities. It was, and is, focused on post-secondary education across the province, not just on single campuses. Check out the results page to get clearer look at some of the outcomes of StudentsNS’ work.

In 2009 The Cape Breton University Students’ Union joined the group and then the Atlantic School of Theology Student Union joined in 2011.

In 2012, all members approved a funding increase (through councils or through general student referendums) in support of ANSSA except the Saint Mary’s University Students’ Association, paving the way for the organization to substantially expand its research and engagement capacity, notably by hiring two additional staff. To better facilitate the use of these increased resources, in 2012 ANSSA also pursued significant restructuring, and renamed itself Students Nova Scotia. Students of the Saint Mary’s University Student Association overwhelmingly approved a funding increase to the organization one year later.

In 2013-14 the Kingstec Nova Scotia Community College Student Association (NSCCSA) became StudentsNS’ first community college member, joining first as an Associate Member before moving to full member status. As well,Dalhousie Agricultural Students Association (DASA) in Truro joined StudentsNS as a full member, before withdrawing in 2014 for financial reasons.

StudentsNS also experienced significant membership changes in early 2015, with Dalhousie Student Union’s decision to disaffiliate (effective April 1) and the Annapolis Valley NSCC Student Association’s (AVNSCCSA) decision to officially join our provincial student coalition (effective May 1).