Debt-Free Education Program for New Brunswick Students

Starting in September 2019, New Brunswick students will be able to graduate from SSU debt free. Thanks to a new Debt-Free Education Foundation that graduates of St. Stephen’s University can apply to, NB students who graduate with a full BA degree from SSU and have met the criteria below will be eligible to have the outstanding provincial and federal student loans they have accumulated during their SSU degree paid off in full. SSU has been concerned about debilitating student debt for a long time, and we are excited about this new program. We hope for other programs in the future to help out-of-province students reduce their student debt as well.

Am I eligible?

In order to be eligible to apply to SSU’s Debt-Free Education Program, students must:

  • Be current residents of New Brunswick
  • Achieve an average grade of 75% in university entrance courses on their Grade 12 high school transcript*
  • Start a full four year Bachelor’s degree at SSU in September 2019 and complete it within four years**
  • Retain an average grade of 75% during their studies at SSU
  • Contribute a suggested donation of $1500 per year (equivalent to around 3 weeks of work at minimum wage) to the Debt-Free Education Foundation during their studies, as a way of ‘paying it forward’ for future students
  • Volunteer on campus for 4 hours per week during term time

How do I apply?

If you are an eligible New Brunswick student, you will automatically be invited to apply for this program when we receive your final Grade 12 transcript, assuming that you have already completed a regular application to SSU and have been admitted to one of our undergraduate degree programs – you can apply here. Successful applicants to the Debt-Free Education (DFE) Program will be notified within one week of applying. Once you enrol at SSU, you will fund your degree as normal, applying for student loans as required. Six months after graduation when your student loans become due, you will be eligible to apply to the Debt-Free Education Foundation to have any outstanding NB and Federal loans paid off in full**.

Does the program include living expenses, or is it just for tuition fees?

It does include living expenses. Any outstanding NB and Federal student loans (which cover tuition and living expenses) accumulated by a full time NB student at SSU are eligible for the program. Personal loans and lines of credit are not eligible.

Do I have to stay and work in NB when I graduate?

No you don’t, but we would really like it if you did! New Brunswick is an amazing place to live, and a great place to plug into your community and really make a difference.

Got more questions?

Please email [email protected]


* We understand that in some cases high school marks do not accurately reflect a student’s ability to pursue undergraduate studies. If your average grades are below 75%, we will still consider your application if it is accompanied by a letter of recommendation from a teacher at your school and/or an interview with SSU staff. SSU commits to helping such students work towards a 75% average in their first year of the degree program and maintain it thereafter.

**The Debt-Free Education Program is contingent upon New Brunswick’s Timely Completion Benefit being offered to graduates in their graduation year. This benefit has been offered by successive NB governments since 2009. It is our understanding it will continue to be offered for the foreseeable future. Students in the DFE Program will be eligible for this benefit, and must apply for and receive it within 6 months of graduation. In the event that the program were to change, SSU reserves the right to adapt the Debt-Free Education Program accordingly, and is committed to working with each of our students to help minimise their debt.