Nova Scotia

Kelly Regan promises N.S. students easier access to loan repayment rates

Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Kelly Regan says, within weeks, a feature will be added to online student loan applications to make it easier for students to access loan repayment rates.

Minister of Labour and Advanced Education says new online tool will be added to student loan applications

Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Kelly Regan says an online tool will be added to student loan applications, outlining repayment rates for post secondary schools. (CBC)

The province is promising to help students make better financial decisions about post secondary schools when applying for student loans online. 

Kelly Regan, the minister of labour and advanced education, says a new feature will be added to online student loan applications within the next few weeks.

"There will be a link there to show you what the institution's repayment rate is, along with some questions that you should be asking the institution when you apply," Regan said.

"You'll want to know things like how many students actually get jobs in their area, when they graduate, that sort of thing."

Data provided to CBC News under the Freedom of Information Act shows that, over a six-year period, more than 6,700 Nova Scotia students defaulted on their loans, owing more than $33 million.

"I want to assure taxpayers that we absolutely are concerned about this," said Regan. "We're concerned for our students who can have a loan default follow them through their life and that has significant implications for them."

The minister also says her department is looking for more detailed information from MacTech Distance Education, which has the worst default rate of all Nova Scotia schools.

Regan says her department has asked for more information on what MacTech is doing to market to employers and how they're supporting graduates to find jobs.

"We're in the process of looking at that designation right now," she said.

Nearly half of former students taking courses from the North Sydney-based school were in default over the six-year period.  

At the end of 2013, defaulting MacTech students owed the province nearly $2 million.  

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