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Tuesday July 21 2015 7 EDUCATION POSTSECONDARY The GNWT is hosting public engagement sessions to discuss a northern conservation approach for the Thaidene Nn TDN Area of Interest including proposed territorial conservation boundaries discussion of northern tools that may be used to address northern conservation interests and the creation of a conservation economy for the area. We need your input about Thaidene Nn Public Engagement Sessions from 700 930 pm July 27 Fort Smith Roaring Rapids Hall July 28 Hay River Ptarmigan Inn July 29 Fort Resolution Community Hall For more information including meeting locations in other communities please visit To submit comments and questions please contact Mr. Darin Bagshaw Environment and Natural Resources at or 867 920-6336. 128-374 NNSL New NWT student financial assistance benefits what you need to know By MEAGAN WOHLBERG Students who are undecided about moving or returning to the NWT have a host of new in- centivestolurethembackandkeeptheminthe territory starting this fall. Theterritorialgovernmentisbusysettingupits revampedstudentnancialassistanceprogram intimeforSept.1whenthousandsinnewmoney willbecomeavailabletostudentsandgraduates whodecidetoremainintheNWTormaketheir way back North. Whiletheeffortispartlyaboutputtingmoney in students pockets it ties into the wider set of government priorities aimed at addressing the territorys dwindling population and creating a robust labour force not just in Yellowknife but in all NWT communities. Its not just about assisting one student its about a broader strategy of encouraging our Northern students to come back and encour- aging southerners who have studied to come to the NWT said Andy Bevan assistant deputy minister of Labour and Income Security with the department of Education Culture and Em- ployment ECE. Itsreallyimportanttousthatweresupport- ingstudentsnotonlyobviouslytoachievetheir own ambitions but also to the extent that they are interested in returning to the NWT labour market and participating and benetting from the NWT economy. Pay down debts faster with higher remission rates Non-AboriginalstudentsreturningtotheNWT willbeabletopayofftheirremissablestudent loansfasterthaneverbeforewithincreasedrates for communities throughout the territory. For each year spent back in the territory stu- dents will see between 6000 and 12000 of debt forgiven depending on where they live. ThosereturningtoYellowknifeafterpostsec- ondarywillbeabletoshave6000peryearoff theirremissibleloanswhilethoseintheregional centresofFortSimpsonFortSmithHayRiver theHayRiverReserveInuvikandNormanWells will see debt forgiveness in the form of 8000 per year - double the previous rate of 4000. In all of the remaining smaller communities oneyearspentbackintheNWTwillseeawhop- ping12000comeoffstudentsremissibleloans. Thisisinrecognitionnotonlyofgovernments decentralizationpolicybutthebroaderobjective tomakesurethatourcommunitiesarevibrant Bevan said. Remissionisonlyavailableasabenettonon- AboriginalresidentsasAboriginalNortherners receivegrantsforlivingallowance.Forstudents with remissible loans who dont return to the territory those loans become repayable loans. New Northern Bonus up to 10K ForstudentsreturningormovingtotheNWT afterpostsecondaryahighlyanticipatednewben- et is a 2000 annual Northern Bonus which basically amounts to no-strings-attached free money to be applied to your student loans as long as you stay in the territory. Thatmoneywillbereceivedannuallytoalife- time limit of 10000 and is even available to southern students whove lived in the territory continuouslyforoneyearmeaningthebonuswont be in hand until September 2016 at the earliest. Thebonusisaboutencouragingpeopletostay longer Bevan said. We want them to demon- stratea12-monthcommitmenttotheNWTand then they would be rewarded. Zero-percent interest For those Northern students residing in or returning to the NWT an additional benet is thenewzero-percentinterestrateonallstudent loans.Theapplicationprocessforthenewinter- estrateisstillindevelopmentbutofcialssayit will be similar to the current remission process for NWT student nancial assistance. There will be no difference essentially whether somebody is studying in Fort Smith versus studying at the U of A there is no dif- ferencewhethertheycomebackorstayBevan said. Once theyve completed their studies and they start to repay either through remis- sion or through repayment proper their loans will be at zero per cent interest for those who prove themselves to be Northern residents. While the new rate is set to kick in on Sept. 1 2015 students will need to prove 12 months of residency before they ofcially receive the new rate meaning it wont affect payments until Sept. 1 2016. You can receive unlimited loans as long as you keep repaying Students who pay down their loans can now access additional funding regardless of what semester they are on in their education. The previous 20-semester funding limit has been lifted and replaced with a revolving loan limit in order to encourage Northerners to pursue higher levels of education like grad- uate studies and further trades certication. Payment on the loans not only includes ac- tual monetary repayment but also remission. We want to make sure that we incent peo- ple not only to return...but its also actually about encouraging continuing education or re-schooling Bevan said. Larger grants available for Aboriginal and NWT students Basic Grant funding for Aboriginal students from the North and students educated and residing in the NWT will see higher amounts for tuition and books. Eligible students will now receive 2400 a semester for tuition up from the previous rate of 1925 and 550 for books up from 400. Connecting students with employers Students receiving supports through stu- dent nancial assistance are already asked for their consent to be contacted by various territorial government departments about possible employment opportunities. But because GNWT internships summer student positions and jobs are limited ECE wanted to open that up to private employers like mining companies as well. Students can now give permission to be contacted by po- tential private sector employers in the hopes that college and university graduates can nd a job and stay in the NWT. Our mandate as a department also includes makingsurethatthelabourmarketoftheNWT istrainedandsufcienttomeetemployerandin- dustrys needs Bevan said. The application process for student fi- nancial assistance has also moved online simplifying the process and making the pro- gram more accessible. The program also has a new Facebook page NWT Student Finan- cial Assistance to connect more youth with the program. New remission rates will allow students with remissable loans to pay back their debt faster with each year spent in the NWT. ImageGNWT