The University of Saskatchewan’s main campus is situated on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis.

Letter to the editor: Response to “Canada Student Loans discriminates against Indigenous students,” published Sept. 28.

By in News

Thank you for this piece, which revealed a potential disconnect between how we think we communicate about student loans and what students actually hear. I’m disappointed that we appear to have fallen short but am grateful for the opportunity to improve.

For clarity, it’s important to know that Canada-Student-Loans-Program loans come to students in two parts, provincial and federal. Intended to help with living costs, the provincial portion is paid out in equal monthly instalments over the study period, and payments begin at the end of the first month. The federal portion is intended to help with tuition costs. We confirm the tuition owing, it’s paid from that federal portion directly to the university, and students receive any remainder as a single payment.

A number of factors can trigger a loan delay, but Indigeneity isn’t one of them. If a student was sponsored in a previous term — by an organization, government agency or First Nation — we do take an extra step and check to see whether they’re sponsored again in the new term. Why? Because, if a student is sponsored, we won’t claim the federal portion for tuition.

This portion of the tuition is already covered by the sponsoring organization. This way, the student receives the full federal portion as a lump-sum payment, meaning more money for books, rent, food and all the other costs of living. It does take a bit longer, yes, but our ultimate goal is to maximize the money that students receive.

And, if the loan is delayed — for whatever reason — we can help. Financial aid is available for crisis moments, like delayed loans or big unexpected costs, and Student Central staff can walk students through what’s required to qualify for it.

We’re here to serve students. That includes talking with and learning from students. We want to do better, so we’re inviting the Indigenous Students’ Council to help us understand how we can best provide the information that students need. We’re looking forward to listening and learning and making our corner of our university a better place for all students.

 

Wendy Klingenberg

Associate Registrar (Bursar)

Student Finance and Awards

The Sheaf welcomes all feedback regarding the content we publish. Anyone can submit a letter to the editor using the online form at thesheaf.com/contact or by sending an email to editor@thesheaf.com. All letters must include a real name and email address. Letters are subject to our editorial policy and may be edited for length and clarity.

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