The Nova Scotia government is eliminating interest on provincial student loans in a move it says will save graduates hundreds of dollars over the life of their loans.

The government says there could be about 18,000 students who would benefit every year from the interest relief.

Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan says the average Nova Scotia student loan is about $5,600, and the interest would total about $800 over the loan’s lifetime.

She says people who take advantage of it have to live in Nova Scotia, have graduated from an approved school and have a Nova Scotia government-sponsored direct-lend loan.

The program applies to graduates who started paying back their loan after November 2007, but eligible borrowers won’t be reimbursed for interest they’ve paid since then.

The program will cost government about $1.6 million annually.