Nunavummiut students will soon be eligible for a maximum of $150,000 in student financial assistance at any one time through the Government of Nunavut.

Prior to the legislative assembly passing Bill 73, to amend the Student Financial Assistance Act, on June 8, the limit on student financial aid – up to $36,000 for most students – had not been changed since 1999.

The previous maximums “do not match the current costs of pursuing post-secondary education,” Education Minister David Joanasie acknowledged.

“This increase will also provide student loan recipients with a level of publicly-funded financial assistance comparable to other Canadian jurisdictions, ensuring our post-secondary students have similar access to financial assistance as other students throughout Canada,” Joanasie said. “This increase will also provide non-Inuit Nunavummiut with loans that are comparable to the amount of funding Nunavut Inuit receive as grants.”

Robert Clift, director of career development with the Department of Family Services, which administered the program until last year, noted that Inuit are eligible to receive all of their Financial Assistance for Nunavut Students (FANS) support in the form of grants. Non-Inuit schooled in the territory primarily have access to loans.

The approved change increases the loan maximums, minus the maximum amount of grants the individual is eligible for, based on their years of schooling and residency in Nunavut.

“The change is primarily intended to give non-Inuit access to the same amount of money that Inuit have access to, but they get it in the form of a loan instead of a grant. This change will have almost no effect on Inuit students because they generally do not take out loans,” Clift explained.

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