Determining your student category

There are four student categories. Most applicants fit into the

The other categories are:

We process your loan application based on your student category as of the first day of the month in which your classes begin.

For example: Your classes begin on September 15 this year, and you will be getting married on August 28. You must apply for a loan as a Married Student because your status as of September 1 will be married.

Single Dependant Student

A Single Dependant Student is considered financially dependent on a parent, step-parent, guardian, sponsor or other supporting relative. Even if your parents or guardians refuse to help you pay for school, you will be assessed as a Single Dependant Student. This means we assess you as though you will have access to Parental Contribution amounts to help you pay for school. You are a Single Dependant Student UNLESS you fit into one of the other three categories listed below.

Single Independent Student

You are a Single Independent student if your relationship status when you start school is "single" AND if you meet one or more of the following conditions:

  • you have no parent, guardian, sponsor or other supporting relative
  • you have been out of high school for four years
  • you have had two periods of 12 consecutive months (each) when you were not a full-time student
  • you are widowed, separated or divorced and are not the custodial parent of any children
  • you are in foster care of otherwise a ward of a government agency

Common-law and Married Students

  • with or without dependants
  • includes same-sex relationships

For Nova Scotia Student Loan purposes, you are living in a common-law relationship if:

  • you are currently cohabiting and have cohabited for at least 12 consecutive months with another person in a conjugal relationship


  • you have listed yourself as common-law partners on your most recent income tax return(s) or

Your spouse is expected to contribute financially. The amount of your student assistance will reflect this contribution, whether or not your spouse actually contributes. If your marriage or common-law relationship ends, your category becomes either Single Independent Student or Single Parent Student. This change in your status is made on the 91st day after you separate. Once you prove your status has changed, the change will become back-dated to when your relationship ended.

Single Parent Student

This category is only for single students who are custodial parents (who have primary custody of one or more children). This includes parents who have:

  • legal custody and full responsibility for support
  • shared custody and shared financial support. (Your loan entitlement will reflect how much time your children actually live with you. For example, if your child lives with you for 50% of each month, you can claim 50% of the actual child care costs.)

Even if you financially support your child, and your child visits you, your student category will not be Single Parent Student UNLESS you are the custodial parent.