Pre-Study Report

Nova Scotia Student Assistance assumes you will work during the period immediately before you start classes and use these earnings toward the cost of your education.

Your first (tentative) Assessment, which you can access on MyPATH, assumes you will work full-time and earn at least minimum wage for your entire pre-study period, and save some of that income for school. If you expect to earn more, you can estimate a higher number on your student assistance application. If your actual earnings are not the same as your estimate, you can correct this when you submit your Pre-Study Report.

After your classes start, you will submit your Pre-Study Report (PSR).

  • The PSR tells us your actual Pre-Study Period income.
  • You will also report what you expect to earn as your Study-Period Income, while you are at school.
  • It also tells us about any allowable expenses you had during that period.
  • We use this information to re-calculate your final Nova Scotia Loan and Grand funding amounts.
  • If your school adjusted its tuition fees since your application was first estimated, this adjusted tuition cost to you will also be re-assessed at this time and reflected in your final funding amounts.
  • You may be asked to provide or update your banking deposit information.

More about the Pre-Study Report:


The deadline to submit a PSR is no later than eight weeks before your study period ends. You cannot get any provincial funding until your PSR is submitted.

How much of my pre-study period income must I save for school?

Some pre-study period expenses can be used to reduce your expected pre-study period contribution.

Typically, for most students who live at home during their pre-study period and have no exceptional expenses, the expected student contribution is:  

High School Students: $233/week x 8 weeks = $1864

University last year: $233/week x 18 weeks = $4194

NSCC last year:  $233/week x 13 weeks = $3029

Once we have your actual pre-study period income, we calculate your contribution.   

  • If your actual pre-study period income is higher than you expected when you completed your application (or your allowable expenses are lower):
    • your pre-study period earnings contribution could increase
    • you could get less funding and/or you may not get a second (provincial) funding deposit at all
    • you may have an overaward on amounts we've already given you
    • make sure you report your higher income to us to avoid any further overawards.
  • If your actual pre-study period income is lower than you expected when you completed your application (or your allowable expenses are higher):
    • your pre-study period earnings contribution might decrease
    • you could get more funding
    • If your pre-study period earnings were lower than you expected because you were unable to work, you may need other documentation

Once I submit my PSR, when will I get more funding?

Your first assessment must be completed before you submit your PSR.

You can complete your PSR (including any documentation you submit via MyPATH) as soon as you start school and/or as soon as your assessment is completed. Once your PSR has been reviewed:

  • If you are assessed for higher funding amounts, and did not already receive the maximum Canada Student Loan amounts, you may receive more Nova Scotia Loan or Grant funding.
  • Any additional loan or grant amounts are deposited to your account halfway through your study period.

If you qualify for additional Nova Scotia loan or grant, you will receive it:

  • University Students: Usually early January
  • NS Community College Students: Later in January
  • Private Career Colleges: The timing will depend on your start and end dates, but it will be halfway through your study period.

If you do not submit your PSR before the deadline, you can not receive any additional loan or grant funding. We do not deposit any funding past the end of your study period.


How long is my pre-study period?

Your pre-study period is the ______-week period immediately before you start classes. How many weeks depends on what you were doing before this study-period started. See the table below:

Which situation applies to you?

If, last school year, you were:

Then your pre-study period is____long

For classes starting in September, your
pre-study period is:

In high school
(classes ended in June)

8 weeks

July 1-September 1

In University
(classes ended in April)

18 weeks

May1-September 1

In Community College (classes ended in May)

13 weeks

June 1-September 1

Working & did not attend school

18 weeks

May1-September 1

On a co-operative education work term during the summer

0 weeks


Attended school through the Intersession (Spring/Summer) with a
full-time course load

0 weeks


I am not starting classes in September. When does my Pre-study Period start?

To see when your pre-study period starts, find the situation that applies to you (in the table above). Then, count backward using the correct number of weeks from the first day of the month in which YOUR classes will begin. Your pre-study period income is the income you earn between that date and the date your classes start.

Do I need proof of my pre-study income?

You do not need to send proof of your income during the pre-study period unless you were self-employed. Be aware that you could be audited any time and that if you apply for student assistance next year we will compare your Income Tax Return for this year to your total pre-study period income and study period earnings that you report on your application this year. 

What if I don’t/couldn’t work during my pre-study period?

If you are unable to work/unable to find a full-time job for the entire pre-study period, you should report the reason on your PSR. We may reduce your minimum pre-study contribution if you document your reason.

  • If you were a Co-operative Education student: Your pre-study period contribution may be calculated differently.
  • If you were unable to work because you were ill or injured:  Submit a medical certificate or letter from your doctor outlining the nature of your illness and the dates you were unable to work.
  • If you were in summer school or were a part-time student during your pre-study period, and unable to work full time (or not at all): Send us a copy of your grades from the courses you completed and explain why school prevented you from working full time. You may also be able to claim the cost of your summer courses as an allowable expense, which could further reduce your pre-study period contribution.
  • If you CHOOSE not to do paid work (volunteering, special-interest camps or foreign exchange programs, etc.): You will not be eligible for a reduction in your minimum pre-study contribution.
  • Some other reason: When you complete your PSR explain why you couldn’t work and gather documents to support your reason, if possible. Depending on your reason, you may also be able to Appeal your Assessment.   

Allowable expenses during your pre-study period

Living Expenses:

On your first assessment, we calculate your minimum pre-study contribution as if you were living at home in Nova Scotia.

  • If you are a Single Independent Student, we recalculate your contribution based on where you actually lived when we process your Pre-Study Report.
  • If you are a Single Dependent or Married Student, we calculate your Pre-Study Contribution as if you were living at home unless you were required to live away from home to work.

Child Care Expenses

Be aware that proof of child care expenses may be required for audit purposes. If you are requested to provide proof, the following are acceptable documents:

  • Licensed Daycare – a letter from childcare centre stating the name(s) of children in child care, the dates and the amounts paid
  • Private Child Care Provider - cancelled cheques or money orders showing the dates and amount paid. Letters or receipts from the childcare provider are not accepted.
  • NOTE - If any child care expenses are for a child with a disability who is over age 11, include a letter from your child's doctor, verifying that the child needs daily care.

Other Allowable Expenses:

You may also have other expenses during your pre-study period which you may be able to claim by sending in proof/documentation.

  • Tuition and other education expenses:  Send receipts and proof of grades/course completion.
  • Required CSL and NSSL payments: Send proof of the minimum monthly payment and the dates you made payments. If you make payments that are not required, these payments will not be considered an allowable expense.
  • Summer Lease/Sub-let Expense: If you must carry the lease for your apartment or residence from the previous academic year through the summer months, submit proof that you were unable to sublet the space in the summer. This could be a photocopy of a newspaper ad where you advertised the space, a letter confirming that you were registered with student housing on campus or a written statement from your landlord stating that subletting of that space is not permitted. There is a set amount allowed for this expense.
  • Uninsured Medical/Dental costs: You can claim amounts paid during your pre-study period. Submit receipts in your name that show the amounts/dates you paid these costs.