Lesra Martin is a dependent student completing his undergraduate at Saint Mary’s University. His parents earn a median income ($47,700 in 2004; $61,500 in 2014-15). He lives off-campus in a rented apartment.

Our model assumes that Lesra:

  • Completes his undergraduate degree in four years
  • Lives off campus throughout his studies
  • Earns a sufficient income through summer work to cover his summer living costs and meet student assistance program expected contributions
  • Does not work part-time during the school year
  • Does not receive any other form of financial assistance
Debt at Graduation

Total Unmet Need



Total Costs$11,511$14,332$14,142
Ancillary fees$232$722$712
Total Resources$11,511$14,332$14,142
Federal Grants$0$800$800
Federal Loans$5,610$7,140$7,140
Provincial Grants$0$773$2,088
Provincial Loans$2,675$1,160$0
Summer Employment Contributions$2,145$3,064$3,064
Parental contributions$1,081$1,394$1,050
Debt ReliefNone.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).

Take Aways:

  • Not only do students from middle-income families rely on student assistance, but to such an extent that these students are eligible for the debt cap.
  • Lesra benefits significantly from our assumption of adequate summer earnings. If he cannot find work over the summer that allows him to save, his need for financial assistance will increase significantly. If Lesra cannot find any work over the summer, he will be on the hook for rent and other living costs that could make his financial circumstances even more difficult.
  • Lesra’s debt total has fallen since 2004 especially as a result of the debt cap program.
  • Lesra’s tuition fell since 2004, but these nominal gains are entirely offset by increased ancillary fees.

Key Recommendations:

  • When assessing student assistance applications, the Nova Scotia Student Assistance Program’s calculation of expected resources should give consideration to additional student and/or family costs, including, but not limited to, registered retirement savings and registered education savings for dependent children or registered disability savings for any family members – Report: From Worst to First.