About 13,000 York University students can have their student loans extended to help deal with the costs of the 12-week-long strike — the longest ever at an English-speaking university in Canada, the provincial government announced yesterday.

About 50,000 students were shut out of classes until striking contract professors were legislated back to work by the Ontario government. Classes resumed on Feb. 2. To make up for lost time, the semester has been extended by four weeks.

York students can also stay longer in residence if needed, and York is starting a fundraising drive to create a $5-million bursary fund for those who need help due to the extension of the school year, said Training, Colleges and Universities Minister John Milloy.