The Nova Scotia government is giving about 11,000 post-secondary students on tuition assistance a one-time $550 payment to help with increased costs of living.
The announcement was made in a release Tuesday from Advanced Education Minister Brian Wong.
In an interview, Wong said that students have been looking for ways to deal with rising costs of living.
“There’s no doubt there’s rising costs … It is tough to deal with, and anything that helps students get through is really what we’re trying to do,” Wong said.
Currently, full-time students in Nova Scotia are eligible to receive a bursary of $1,283.
Wong said the money for the handout comes from a $6.2-million grant the province received from the federal government.
To be eligible to receive the $550, students must be Nova Scotia residents and be already receiving student loans from the provincial government.
The grant does not need to be repaid, and will be automatically deposited in January into most students’ accounts.
Kyle Cook is the chair of Students Nova Scotia, an advocacy group that represents post-secondary students in the province. He said in an interview that the idea for a one-time payment to students was brought forward during the annual advocacy week that Students Nova Scotia was a part of.
Cook said that this payment will help students immediately.
“What we’ve been hearing from students is that right now the overall cost of living is extremely high,” Cook said.
Cook said that the focus on students already receiving provincial support means that this payment will “go directly into the pockets of students that need it the most.”
He said he wants to see continued conversations about ways to help students, such as an increase in monthly student housing allocations in the student financial assistance program.
“These current housing allocations to the student financial assistance program are really out of touch with the current cost of living. We want to see long term investments into students, but as of right now this $550 bursary will help students…” Cook said.
Wong said that he wants any student in Nova Scotia who wants a post-secondary education to be able to get one, and payments like these help students.
“$550 is going to help 11,000 students,” Wong said.
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Sam is a fourth-year King's journalism student from Boston.