Juno MacGuff is a single mom with a one year-old, completing her undergraduate degree at StFX. She comes from a low-income family that cannot provide her any support. She is not receiving any child support payments or other assistance from the father of her child.

Our model assumes that Juno:

  • Completes her degree program in four years
  • Does not work part-time during the school year
  • Can finance her living costs over the summer, but cannot save for the school year
  • Does not receive any additional financial assistance from the university or another party
  • Has her child in daycare throughout the length of her program
Debt at Graduation

Total Unmet Need



Total Costs$20,519$25,793$25,423
Ancillary Fees$147$796$631
Total Resources$12,750$17,540$25,423
Federal Grants$2,040$3,600$3,600
Federal Loans$5,610$7,140$7,140
Provincial Grants$0$3,128
Provincial Loans$5,100$3,672$0
Debt ReliefLoan remission program worth as much as $3,000 per year.Debt Cap and Repayment Assistance Plan linked to income and repayment time (max 15 years).Repayment Assistance Plan linked to income and repayment time (max 15 years).

Major Caveat:

Juno and her child’s living costs over the summer are not considered in the model, we assume that she can find work to pay these bills. These costs would amount to at least:


Given that there is no guarantee that Juno will be able to find work in the summer, these costs potentially pose a significant additional burden to attending post-secondary education. Juno could perceive significant risk to pursuing a degree when she is not assured of money to support herself and her child for fully one-third of the year.

Take Aways:

  • Juno does not receive enough support to cover her costs in either of the 2004 or 2014-15 scenarios, leaving very significant unmet need. It is basically impossible to envision Juno being able to afford attending this program without additional support outside the model.
  • Juno’s debt total has been reduced significantly over the course of the indicated years as a result of the debt cap, which forgives all her provincial loans. She graduates with only federal loans.
  • Juno’s tuition fell since 2004, but student fees increased as a result of ancillary fee growth.

Key Recommendations:

  • The Province of Nova Scotia should eliminate the limit on provincial student financial assistance for all eligible students studying at public post-secondary institutions in Nova Scotia – Report: From Worst to First.