General Information

Through the provision of the appropriate financial assistance, it is the Mission of the Nova Scotia Student Assistance Office to ensure that all academically qualified Nova Scotians have equity of access to quality post secondary education and training.


The Student Assistance Office was established in 1964. The program was established to provide needs-based assistance to students who would be unable to attend post-secondary study because their family resources were not sufficient to cover their educational costs. This philosophy has remained unchanged.



The Student Assistance Office administers:

Please visit the Canada Student Loan Program's Web site for more information on the Canada Student Grants at


The federal and provincial governments provide assistance to help students study at designated universities, community colleges or private career colleges. The purpose of the Canada Student Loan (CSL) and grants and Nova Scotia Student Loan (NSSL) and grants, is to supplement, not to replace, the financial resources that you (and your family, if applicable) are expected to contribute. NSSL and CSL are based on financial need as determined through an assessment of your application. Educational costs (such as tuition fees, books and supplies, basic living expenses), and the resources Nova Scotia Student Assistance expects you (and your family, if applicable) to contribute, are taken into consideration. Student loans are not designed to supply all of the assistance you may need to meet your educational and living costs.


There are a number of basic eligibility criteria you must meet in order to be eligible to apply for financial assistance in Nova Scotia.

You can determine if an institution is approved for Assistance by clicking here.

However, even though an institution has been approved, all of its programs may not have been. The following types of programs are NOT approved:

You can apply for a Student Loan for some, but not all, qualifying year programs. Check with the Student Assistance Office if you are not sure whether a particular institution or program has been approved for Student Loans.


The office receives more than 23,000 applications a year. It can take 4-6 weeks to process your application. Incomplete applications will delay processing.

You must:


You must have a valid permanent Social Insurance Number (SIN) in order for your Nova Scotia Student Assistance application to be processed. If you do not have a Social Insurance Number, contact any office of Human Resources Development Canada, Employment and Insurance, for information about how to obtain one. They are listed in the blue pages of local telephone directories.


The Client Service Officers who answer the phones can answer most of your questions. They are available during regular office hours, 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. each weekday.

You can speak with a Financial Aid Counsellor on the phone at these times:

Monday and Tuesday - 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Thursday and Friday - 8:30 A.M. to 11:30 A.M.

Long distance calls to the Student Assistance Office are free from anywhere in Canada. Phone 1-800-565-8420 or, in the Metro area, 424-8420.

You can meet with a Counsellor, by appointment, at the Student Assistance Office at these times:

Monday and Tuesday - 9:00 A.M. to 11:30 A.M.
Thursday and Friday - 1:00 P.M. to 3:40 P.M.

Call 424-8420 to make an appointment. Our office is on the 4th floor (main level) of the Brunswick Place Building, 2021 Brunswick Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia.


For important information on the Nova Scotia Student Loan Process click here to access Resolve Corporation's Entrance Counselling tool. This tool will help you to become educated about borrowing for your post-secondary education, and will give you tips to help you manage your loans from the day you receive them until you have paid in full.


All calls to the Student Assistance Office are answered by the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and transferred to the call center representatives.  Call center representatives are available to assist you Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm AST. 

You can find out up-to-date information on the status of your file by logging in to the online tools option on the Student Assistance Website and accessing the "Check Loan Status" option.  You can also find out when your application was received by the office, access an estimate of how much assistance you may be eligible for, and a view a list of any documents that may still be required to complete your application.  The "Check Loan Status" option online is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day and is updated daily.


For Loan Applications, Appeals and Pre-study Reports

All information must be received no later than 8 weeks before your study period ends. For example, if you finish your program any time in April, you must have submitted ALL information before March 1st. If you finish any time in December, information will not be accepted after October 31st.

Students who do not apply early often do not have enough time to send additional information needed to process, finalize or increase their loan award. It can take 4-6 weeks to process information you send. If you are starting classes in September, we recommend you apply before June 30th. Remember, we cannot issue awards after the end of your study period. FOR THIS REASON DEADLINES ARE ENFORCED.


You must pass at least 60% of a full university course load to remain eligible for Student Loans and interest-free assistance. If you are at a community college or private career college, you must pass each year. You may be required to send in a copy of your transcript or copy of your diploma / degree to show successful completion of previous academic years. You will be notified if this is required.

If you do not maintain a satisfactory scholastic standard, the consequences and results illustrated in the following table will apply.

Failing courses may increase the number of years you'll need to complete your program and there is a limit to the length of time you can apply.