Nov. 26, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - More than 350 graduates have taken advantage of the Timely Completion Benefit in the first six months it has been available, Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault reported today.
The benefit launched last May was created to help New Brunswickers who graduated from a post-secondary education institution within the established timeline of their program with student loans in excess of $26,000.
"This debt-relief program is another way our government is making post-secondary education more accessible and more affordable for our students as committed to in Be inspired. Be Ready. Be Better. The Action Plan to Transform Post-Secondary Education in New Brunswick," said Arseneault. "The benefit has helped students who have taken advantage of it to reduce their student debt load on average by about $11,000. That is significant."
The minister added this measure alone will help reduce the average debt of students closer to the national average of $24,000. In the past, the average debt for a New Brunswick student was upward of $34,000. In the coming weeks, the department will be undertaking a campaign to reach graduates to raise the awareness of the availability of the benefit and to advise other graduates who may be eligible for the benefit to apply.
New Brunswick students who complete an undergraduate degree, certificate or diploma at any publicly funded post-secondary educational institution, or a private chartered, not-for-profit, degree-granting institution in New Brunswick, may be eligible if they meet certain criteria.
They must finish their studies within the established timeline of their program and have combined federal and provincial government student loan borrowings associated with that credential exceeding $26,000. When they meet these requirements, they will have 100 per cent of their provincial student loan in excess of that amount forgiven.
"It is important to remind eligible graduates that this Timely Completion Benefit is available to New Brunswick students experiencing high student debt," Arseneault said. "Our government has made other significant improvements to help New Brunswickers gain access to a more affordable post-secondary education system."
Those improvements have included:
More information about the Timely Completion Benefit is available online. Student Financial Services may be reached at 506-453-2577 (Fredericton area or outside toll-free zone); or 1-800-667-5626 (the rest of New Brunswick, the Atlantic provinces and west to mid-Ontario).
MEDIA CONTACT: Lori-Jean Johnson, communications, Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, 506-443-2039.