Expert Blog

Provincial tuition rebate programs can bring a little credit after graduation

Posted September 4th 2013

Post-secondary educations are expensive propositions, and many students graduate and start life with large student loans to pay off. However, four provinces are trying to attract recent graduates to live and work in their jurisdictions by offering some tax relief.

All the programs are open to provincial residents who have graduated from a post-secondary program and decide to live and work in that province. The actual amount of credit you receive depends on how long you decide to live and work in a particular province. You cannot simply move to Saskatchewan for a year, claim the maximum credit and then leave. The programs are meant to encourage people to build their careers in a particular province.

As long as you are a recent graduate of an eligible program, are paying income tax and filing the appropriate provincial tax return, you should qualify for the tax relief.

Here is an outline of the four programs available:

Saskatchewan Graduate Retention Program: The most generous of all the packages, the Saskatchewan GRP provides a tuition refund of up to $20,000. And you may also qualify if you decide to move to Saskatchewan after obtaining your degree or diploma. The actual amount of money you receive depends on your tuition costs, and the credits are claimed over a period of seven years.

Manitoba Tuition Fee Income Tax Rebate: You can receive a 60 per cent income tax rebate on tuition fees up to a maximum of $25,000 if you graduate and settle in Manitoba. Again, you have to claim the rebate over a number of years. The minimum is over a six-year period or you can spread it out over 20 years, if you wish.

New Brunswick Tuition Rebate: Up to 50 per cent of your tuition is eligible for the rebate credit, up to a lifetime maximum rebate of $20,000. And you are allowed to claim it at any time up to 20 years from the first year the credit is earned. The maximum annual rebate is $4,000 and, like other tuition credits, unused balances can be carried forward to claim against future provincial income.

Nova Scotia Graduate Retention Rebate: Started in 2009, this new program replaces the Graduate Tax Credit. University graduates can claim a maximum of $2,500 per year, up to a maximum of $15,000 over six years. Diploma or certificate programs can also qualify, up to a maximum of $1,250 per year to a maximum of $7,500 over six years.

So, if you are thinking about moving after graduation to work, you may want to look at one of the four provinces offering incentives to encourage you stay. You do not need to find a job in your chosen field – you simply need to pay provincial income tax to qualify. Depending on how much you spent on your tuition, the tax savings may make post-secondary education much less painful.

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