Explainer: Nova Scotia’s loan forgiveness program

Students have to work harder to access the program in B.C.

(Kristen Frier)

At the beginning of August, the Province of Nova Scotia announced a loan forgiveness program for students who were issued provincial student loans after Aug. 1, 2015.

For students to be eligible, they need to “graduate from an undergraduate non-professional degree program at a Nova Scotia university.” They also need to have completed their degree over the course of eight years, and it must be their first undergraduate degree.

Applicants who graduated before Aug. 1, 2017 and completed their degree in five years or more can be eligible for the first four years of their degree. Anyone who graduated after that point is eligible for five years worth of coverage.

Global News reported that Nova Scotia has already forgiven $8 million in student loans for over 1,000 Nova Scotian students.

B.C. also has a loan forgiveness program, but it  works differently. For students to be eligible for loan forgiveness, they must have graduated from an accredited institution, not enrolled in full-time studies, and employed or soon to be employed in a “publicly funded facility in an eligible occupation either with children or in an underserved community in B.C.”

Eligible applicants can work in fields like nursing, speech language pathology, physiotherapy, and midwifery.

British Columbians who are approved for the program will have their provincial loans forgiven up to a maximum of 20 per cent per year over five years.

In an email to The Runner, former KSA President David Piraquive said it would be difficult for KPU to introduce a forgiveness program for students because they depend on fees from international students.

As he did during his time as President, Piraquive encourages students to lobby the federal and provincial government for more financial support.

“The average tuition in Canada is about $6,000 a year,” he says. “With the amount they gave to W.E., that could help about 140,000 students across Canada.”

KPU has scholarships, bursaries and financial support available to students.