Progressive Conservative MLA John Lohr says the Department of Labour and Advanced Education needs to update its rules around student loans for online programs offered by Nova Scotia post-secondary institutions, instead of holding students back with its outdated policies.
Lohr raised the issue in the Legislature this week, after he heard from a constituent who was told she didn’t qualify for a student loan because she planned to take a strictly online course. She was hoping to enroll in the part-time Early Childhood Educator online program at NSCC.
Lohr was shocked after he asked Minister Labi Kousoulis why the department would say she didn’t qualify, and the Minister responded by saying the department doesn’t “allow funding for online courses.”
“In this day and age, it is common practice for schools to provide online programs to students. And here in Nova Scotia, we are lucky to have many world-class universities and post-secondary institutions,” says Lohr. “If a student is attending one of these institutions, their student loan application should be considered—regardless of whether the program is in person or online.”
Lohr adds that this government honoured distance courses for teachers who upgraded their teaching certification, so why doesn’t it recognize online programs for Nova Scotian students trying to further their education?
“It’s unfair for this government to tell hard-working Nova Scotians who are interested in taking an online course that they can’t be considered for a student loan,” says Lohr. “It’s time for the Liberals to enter the 21st century and make sure the student loan program reflects the needs of today’s students.”