A review of Nunavut’s student financial assistance program was announced in January
According to Iqaluit-Tasiluk MPP George Hickes, students are delaying or canceling their post-school plans due to ongoing issues with the Department of Education’s student financial assistance program.
He raised the issue March 18 in the Legislative Assembly and asked Education Minister Pamela Gross for an update on the ongoing review of the Nunavut Student Financial Assistance Program, or FANS. .
“Will the Minister commit to supporting an increased role for FANS and Student Records staff to work more directly with students with their applications so that every student who wishes to continue their education can do so regardless his personal situation? He asked.
FANS is a Department of Education program that provides financial assistance to Nunavummiut who need it to attend post-secondary institutions. It has come under criticism in recent months because students reported that they had problems access to funding, which has led to registration issues, according to CBC News.
CBC News reported in January that the Department of Education was review the program.
In response, Gross pointed to the review, along with an updated record-keeping program, as examples of actions his department is taking to resolve the issues.
She said that in addition to COVID-19 causing payment delays, a student registration form for Arctic College created confusion with FANS registration.
“[That] the confusion has been resolved,” Gross said.
Hickes also asked Gross if the Department of Education would commit to a timeline to respond to students about their FANS applications. He said students and their parents told him they had to wait weeks for updates on their applications, if they received a response.
“Most cannot afford tuition and travel and are patiently waiting for their FANS application to be processed,” Hickes said.
Gross said the department has developed “standard email responses” to requests like these within two days, but “during peak hours” that can take up to five days.
Gross also said the department would be happy to work with any student who calls or emails about their FANS application.
“I’m always here if people contact me,” she said.