STELLARTON – Post-secondary students were a prime target for voter pitch Thursday in the Nova Scotia election campaign.
MLA Ross Landry and Premier Darrell Dexter interact with culinary instructor Gilles Godin and his students during a campaign stop at NSCC Pictou Campus. Amanda Jess – The News
Premier Darrell Dexter made a stop yesterday at the Nova Scotia Community College Pictou Campus after an announcement from the New Democratic Party offering housing options for new graduates.
“The problem with most kids is they’re making enough for a mortgage, but can’t save for the down payment,” said the NDP leader.
Dexter hopes to roll out the Graduate Home Ownership Assistance Program in 2014. It is meant to make owning a home easier for young adults coming out of school with meagre savings and possible debt.
He said many newly graduated students are paying in rent what they would pay on a mortgage, so it’s the down payment holding them back from owning a home.
“It delays one of the biggest steps in their lives,” Dexter said.
The program would be a part of Housing Nova Scotia and offer more flexible plans for those looking for a more permanent residence.
It wouldn’t require graduation from an institution in Nova Scotia, meaning new Nova Scotia citizens would have access to the benefits as well.
Dexter says this idea comes from feedback by students and personal experience. He had to wait 10 years before he could buy a home because of student loans.
This announcement comes the same day the Nova Scotia Liberal Party leader Stephen McNeil unveiled plans for a graduate-level student scholarship program to encourage research.
The scholarships would be given to approximately 300 students in post-bachelor degree programs with a value between $10,000 and $15,000.
“What is the new product that will define the next generation like the Blackberry and iPhone have defined ours? What will be the new advancement in digital social interaction that helps small businesses reach new markets? What new agricultural product can be developed to better protect our home-grown produce during planting and harvesting seasons? These are all questions that can be answered right here in Nova Scotia,” McNeil said in a press release.
The Liberal Party also said in a release earlier this week they believe interest shouldn’t be charged on student loans.
Dexter spent the day in Pictou County campaigning with all three local candidates.
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