Financial Aid Available for Post-Secondary Students with Disabilities in Nova Scotia
We are soon coming to the end of this series of articles outlining what financial aid is available to post-secondary students with disabilities in the provinces and territories across Canada. This article focuses on Nova Scotia, the last province to be featured. The Northwest Territories and Nunavut are the only territories yet to be written about.
The program responsible for student financial assistance in the Nova Scotia government is called the Student Assistance Program. Students with disabilities are supported in three significant ways. One, they are given more time to complete their studies: a maximum of 520 weeks of funded studies, compared to 340 weeks for other students.
Two, full-time students will generally be given more funding than part-time students. For reference, full-time studies is defined as taking at least 60% of a full course load. Students with disabilities are given greater flexibility in this determination: if they are taking at least 40% of a full course load, they are considered to be full-time students. This designation allows them to hold a more manageable schedule and access greater funding.
Which brings us to three: students with disabilities are given additional funding to ensure equitable access to education. Read on below for the details.
- The Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities
Students with disabilities in Nova Scotia will complete the same general application as other students—except the application must indicate that the applicant is a student with disabilities. With this one application, the student is assessed for both federal and provincial financial aid.
This grant is a federal grant, giving students with disabilities a maximum of $2,000 per school year (August 1 to July 31 of the next year). This funding may be used to cover tuition and related costs. Students are eligible if they are found to have at minimum $1 of financial need; are taking either part-time or full-time studies; and submit documentation of a physical or learning disability.
- The Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities for Services and Equipment
This federal grant provides additional support for students with disabilities who may need specialized services and equipment in order to access their education. A maximum of $8,000 is available per school year. As long as the applicant has been approved for the Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities, the applicant is eligible for this second grant.
A separate application is required for each year students want to apply for the Canada Student Grant for Students with Permanent Disabilities for Services and Equipment. This application will require students to clearly indicate what services and equipment are necessary as well as their associated estimated costs.
The general application process for students with disabilities is to first complete and submit the general application. This application will ask if you are a student with disabilities and you will indicate yes to that question. The next step is to gather and submit your medical documentation. Of the two grants above, you are automatically considered for the first while the second requires a separate application. The key is to apply early!