Students Nova Scotia


Press Releases & Updates

StudentsNS Releases Vision for Student Finance and the Student Movement

For Immediate Release

Halifax, NS – Students Nova Scotia released a vision paper on student finance and the student movement this morning. The brief paper advocates for needs-based grants to fully meets students’ costs to attend post-secondary education. It calls for student movement unity across Canada in support of this vision.

“Students Nova Scotia is articulating a new vision for student financial assistance and the student movement focused on supporting those who need help the most,” said StudentsNS President, Brandon Hamilton. “Improving targeted financial assistance is the only way to ensure all qualified Canadians can afford to attend post-secondary education without elevated debt.”

The paper recommends funding improve student financial assistance through the reallocation of funds currently spent on tuition and education tax credits and the Federal Education Savings Grant. These programs disproportionately support higher income students and their families and are worth almost $3 billion per year.

“If our governments reallocate funds from regressive and ineffective programs towards targeted financial assistance, we can make post-secondary education dramatically more affordable even without spending new money”, said StudentsNS Vice President University Affairs, Callie Lathem.

The paper also argues for a long-term emphasis on student financial assistance over tuition elimination. It notes that tuition and fees represent only a fraction of the costs of attending post-secondary education. Converting all student assistance loans to grants would provide free tuition to Nova Scotia students whose families earn approximately less than $134,000.

“The cost of college or university is not just tuition and fees because students still need to live while studying”, said StudentsNS Vice President College Affairs Scott Byrne. “We need better student financial assistance so students can have a reasonable standard of living, without heavy debt.”

The position paper comes on the heels of a StudentsNS report providing case studies of different students’ financial circumstances in 2004 and 2014-15. The case studies report further demonstrated the elevated costs of university or college studies and inadequacies of current student financial assistance programs in Nova Scotia.

StudentsNS also acknowledges the existence of non-financial barriers to post-secondary education, including poverty, primary and secondary education achievement gaps, and other inequities. The organization is currently conducting research addressing social determinants of post-secondary access.

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Students Nova Scotia is a not-for-profit and non-partisan advocacy group that represents 37,794 Nova Scotia post-secondary students, including 86% of the university student population. Our members study at Acadia, Cape Breton, Dalhousie, Saint Mary’s, and St. Francis Xavier Universities, the Kingstec Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College, and the Atlantic School of Theology.


For more information, please contact:

Jonathan Williams, StudentsNS Executive Director

Phone: 902 483 5480



Brandon Hamilton, StudentsNS President

Phone: 902 867 2435



Scott Byrne, StudentsNS VP College Affairs

(O) 902 300 5038


Kate Elliot