Will millions of student debts be canceled, asks MP

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The Education Department is due to repay $ 7.3 million in student loans, but most of it – $ 5.6 million – falls into the “bad debt” category.

Arviat North-Whale Cove MP John Main asked the March 4 legislature whether the Education Department was prepared to write off those outstanding loans.

Ibrahim Suleiman, director of financial operations for the department, acknowledged that overdue amounts represent a “significant balance”.

“We are looking at different fundraising possibilities and how we can collect this money, but if these steps are not successful, we will approach the Department of Finance to determine what would be the best steps to take moving forward.” Suleiman said.

Main wanted to know how many years the unpaid amounts had been going up, but Education Minister David Joanasie did not have the information in hand. He could only say that “they go back a long way.”

Main also asked if any of this “confusion or mess” could be attributed to the “outdated” computer or database systems in use at the Nunavut Student Aid Office in Arviat.

“I couldn’t answer that question either,” Joanasie said.

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