The Department of Education is owed $7.3 million in repayments for student loan debt but the bulk of that – $5.6 million – falls into the “doubtful accounts” category.
Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main asked in the legislative assembly on March 4 whether the Department of Education is prepared to write off those outstanding loans.
Ibrahim Suleiman, the department’s director of financial operations, acknowledged that the overdue amounts represents a “significant balance.”
“We’re looking at different collection possibilities and how we can gather this money, but if those steps don’t achieve success, then we will be approaching the Department of Finance to figure out what would be the best steps to move forward,” said Suleiman.
Main wanted to know how many years the outstanding amounts date back, but Education Minister David Joanasie didn’t have the information on hand. He could only say that “they go quite a ways back.”
Main also asked whether any of this “confusion or mess” could be attributed to the “out-of-date” computer or database systems in use at the Financial Assistance for Nunavut Students office in Arviat.
“I wouldn’t be able to answer that question as well,” Joanasie said.