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New obstacle for students trying to access loans

Notice of Tax Assessment forms from Canada Revenue forms are no longer an acceptable piece of identification when when students present loan agreements to Canada Post offices

Students wait in line at the registrar’s office in the T Building at Langara College on Nov. 16. Photo by Myra Dionne
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Reported by Myra Dionne

In an attempt to curb fraud, provincial and federal changes to student loan agreements have added an extra hurdle for students to access loans.

According to StudentAid BC’s website, Notice of Tax Assessment forms from the Canada Revenue Agency are no longer accepted as identification when presenting loan agreements to designated Canada Post offices. That’s because tax assessments no longer include a citizen’s full Social Insurance Number.

Accepted forms of identification

Rodney Porter, communications director for B.C.’s Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, said in an email the only accepted forms of verifying SIN numbers are a physical SIN card or official Government of Canada documents. He said the documents include: a Canadian Pension Plan statement of contributions, temporary SIN cards or a SIN confirmation letter from Service Canada, all of which require extra documentation to access.

Porter said the changes came into effect in October 2017 after Employment and Social Development Canada notified them of the CRA’s change in procedure, and were introduced to validate a person’s identity.

“This avoids frauds by ensuring the money goes to the right person,” Porter said.

In an email to The Voice, Dave Morgan, a CRA representative, said “The measure was adopted to safeguard the confidentiality of taxpayer information.”

He said it allowed for easy identification of tax correspondence.

Students adapting to new rules

First-year arts student Rada Stojanovic had to get a new SIN card this year, which is now printed on paper. She said in order to get it, she had to present an original birth certificate.

Kat Cruz, a third-year Forensics and Anthropology student at Langara College, said she doesn’t know where her SIN card is.

For Cruz, these changes only add more challenges for students.

“Why are [they] making it hard for someone to get a student loan when [they’re] complaining that we’re the future and all that jazz,” Cruz said. “It’s unreasonable, not a lot of people have the resources to actually get it or the time.”

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