Increases are also on the table for both the supplementary grant (for northern Indigenous students) and remissible loan programs. Applicants to both would no longer be limited by the number of semesters that they can access the funding. Loan applicants would still need to remain within the $60,000 limit.
Eligibility for the loan would no longer be judged by whether the student was schooled in the Northwest Territories.
Suspension penalties would be revoked, but students would still be expected to repay any benefits received for which they weren’t eligible.
“The proposed changes to the student financial assistance program are intended to remove barriers and enhance benefits for our students,” education minister RJ Simpson was quoted as saying in a news release.
The territory says the changes are meant to align with recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’s final report and calls for justice, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, all of which sought increased access to post-secondary education for Indigenous students.