The SFAAB is committed to supporting the vision and mission of the Department of Advanced Education and Skills by ensuring that all individuals in the province who require financial assistance to access post-secondary education, have access to an appeal process. This process ensures that each applicant is treated with the principles of reasonableness, fairness and objectivity. By the end of each fiscal year (March 31), the SFAAB will have held hearings for students accessing the student loan program who appealed their eligibility and a decision is rendered in a timely manner. The SFAAB has regulated service standards establishing time limits during which it must hold hearings and communicate subsequent decisions. All scheduled appeals are heard within six weeks upon request of an appeal and appeal decisions are rendered to students within 10 days after the appeal hearing (for additional information regarding the NL Student Financial Assistance program, please visit www.aes.gov.nl.ca/studentaid).
The function of the SFAAB is established under authority of section 12 of the Student Financial Assistance Act:
12.(1) A person may make an appeal to the appeal board with respect to a denial, term, condition, amount of a student loan, financial assistance, interest or payment relief made or established under this Act.
(2) Appeals made under subsection (1) shall be made in accordance with the regulations
(3) The appeal board or a committee of the appeal board shall, in writing and not more than 10 days after the hearing and consideration of an appeal, notify the appellant of its decision and the reasons for that decision
(4) A decision of a committee of the appeal board and of the appeal board on an appeal is final and binding.
Under the authority of section 19 and 20 of the Student Financial Assistance Administration Regulations
19.(1) A person aggrieved of a decision with respect to the amount of financial assistance, other than debt reduction assistance, for which he or she is eligible or with respect to the conversion of a grant into a student loan may apply to the minister in writing for a review of that decision
(2) An application made under subsection (1) shall be reviewed not more than 14 days after its receipt and the applicant shall immediately be notified in writing of the decision.
20.(1) A person may, in writing, appeal a decision made under subsection 19(2) to the appeal board.
(2) The appeal board shall hear and consider an appeal made under subsection (1) not more than 6 weeks after its receipt of the appeal and shall notify the appellant in accordance with subsection 12(3) of the Act.
The SFAAB shall consist of not fewer than 6 and not more than 9 members in total. Currently, the SFAAB consists of a panel of seven persons appointed by the Minister of the Department of Advanced Education and Skills. The Minister shall appoint one person from among those appointed, to be the chairperson of the Board.
The composition of the SFFAB members is as per section 18 of the Student Financial Assistance Administration Regulations.
18. (1) The minister shall appoint a student financial assistance appeal board consisting of a panel of not fewer than 6 and not more than 9 persons of whom
(a) One shall be a representative from Memorial University of Newfoundland;
(b) Two shall be students attending educational institutions in the province;
(c) One shall be an employee of the government of the province;
(d) One shall be a representative from the College of the North Atlantic established under the College Act, 1996;
(e) One shall be a representative from a private educational institution in the province.
(2) The minister shall appoint one person from among those appointed under subsection 1 to be the chairperson of the appeal board.
Those who make up the SFAAB should collectively possess the following core competencies:
Those who make up the SFAAB should collectively possess the following qualifications:
Board Meetings are held during working hours to accommodate student schedules. The frequency of board meetings may vary depending on the volume of requests. There continues to be a decline from earlier years in the number of requests being forwarded to the SFAAB. This decline is attributed to the enhanced overall services provided to students by the Student Financial Services Division of the Department of Advanced Education and Skills. The Division offers career and financial counseling services to students relating to the student financial assistance process, career choices and funding available.
Appointments to the Board are for one, two or three year terms, and no member of the Board can serve for more than two consecutive terms.
The term of the SFFAB members is as per section 18 of the Student Financial Assistance Administration Regulations.
18. (3) A person appointed under subsections (1) and (2) shall be appointed for a term of 3 years.
(4) Notwithstanding subsection (3), of the members of the appeal board first appointed under these regulations
(a) One shall be appointed for a term of one year;
(b) 2 shall be appointed for a term of 2 years; and
(c) The remainder of the members shall be appointed for a term of 3 years,
and each member is eligible for reappointment.
(5) A person appointed to the appeal board under this section is eligible for reappointment for a 3 year term and shall not serve as a member of the appeal board for more than 2 consecutive terms.
(6) Notwithstanding subsections (3) to (5) a member of the appeal board shall continue to be a member until he or she is replaced.
(7) Where a vacancy occurs in the membership of the appeal board panel, the minister shall appoint a person to replace that member and that person shall be a member of the appeal board for the remainder of the unexpired term of the person he or she is replacing.