Postsecondary education in Nunavut

Postsecondary education in Nunavut is delivered primarily through Nunavut Arctic College (NAC).

NAC has campuses in Iqaluit, Cambridge Bay and Rankin Inlet and a network of 25 Community Learning Centres throughout Nunavut. The college also operates the Nunavut Research Institute located in Iqaluit and the Nunavut Trades Training Centre in Rankin Inlet.

In addition to providing university-level transfer, certificate, and diploma programs, the college provides adult education and literacy programs, skills development programs, trades training, educational assessment, and counselling.

The territorial Department of Family Services, with headquarters in Iqaluit and regional offices across Nunavut, has responsibility for postsecondary education. The college is overseen by the Minister responsible for Nunavut Arctic College.

Before the creation of Nunavut in 1999, the eastern area of the Canadian Arctic was part of the Northwest Territories. The responsibility for education was transferred from the federal government to the NWT's new Department of Education in 1969. In the mid-1980s, a decentralized system of regional campuses was established as Arctic College. In 1995, Arctic College was divided into two colleges - Aurora College serving the western part of the territories and Nunavut Arctic College serving the east. With the creation of Nunavut in 1999, Nunavut Arctic College became the means of delivering postsecondary education in the new territory.

The right to deliver university-level programs and grant prescribed university degrees and applied bachelor's degrees has been accorded to public colleges in Nunavut through legislation. However, all degree programs delivered in Nunavut are currently offered through partnerships with educational institutions in other Canadian jurisdictions.

NAC offers a variety of certificate, diploma, trades, and university transfer programs in areas such as teacher education, health careers, career development, and community administration.

Programs vary in length from eight weeks to four years, but generally speaking certificate and university transfer programs involve one year of full-time studies and two years are required for diploma programs. In addition, the college provides adult basic education, skills development courses, trades training, and contract training on behalf of local employers. The college has an established process to allow students to apply for course credits based on previous learning and work experience.

NAC has transfer and cooperative arrangements with a number of institutions in the south, including the University of Regina, Dalhousie University, Saint Francis Xavier University, University of Prince Edward Island, University of Alberta, University of Lethbridge, Athabasca University and Royal Roads University.

NAC's two degree programs are delivered through partnerships with Dalhousie University for the Bachelor of Science in Arctic Nursing program and the University of Regina for the Nunavut Teacher Education Program.

NAC is also a member of the University of the Arctic (UArctic). UArctic is a cooperating network of over 100 universities, colleges, aboriginal and other organizations committed to higher education and research in the circumpolar world. It is not a degree granting institute. Graduates of NAC's diploma programs can receive up to 60 credits towards a Bachelor of Circumpolar Studies and can enroll in Circumpolar Studies courses on-line. Eligible NAC students can also participate in mobility programs like North2North through UArctic.

All students must be 17 years of age or older. High school graduation is normally required for most university-level programs at the college, but, since admission requirements vary from program to program, it is best to consult the college calendar for details. Some programs have additional requirements such as: portfolios, letters of reference, or recommendations from Career Development Officers (in local communities within Nunavut).

Special consideration is given to mature applicants who are 17 years of age or older and who have been out of school for a least a year. The college has an open admissions policy for students pursuing adult basic education and skills development courses.

As of 2015-2016, full-time tuition fees for certificate and diploma programs at the college are $3420 per year. Full-time tuition fees for degree programs are $4100 per year. Tuition fees for individual courses reflect the actual costs of the course and are $300 for certificate or diploma programs, and $375 for degree programs.

As of 2015-2016, international student fees are $7000 per year. NAC accepts applications from international and out of territory students; however, there are acceptance limitations in place based on the maximum student capacity of the program, the number of qualified applications received from Nunavut residents, and specific program language requirements.

The Government of Nunavut administers the Financial Assistance for Nunavut Students (FANS) a student financial assistance program for territorial residents. Eligible students may be able to access grants for travel, living allowances, and tuition and books provided they meet certain eligibility criteria while loans may also be available.

Comprehensive review of this information: January 2019