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Upfront costs pertain to semester, says UWI

The administrators of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies are assuring Barbadian students they do not have to pay the newly-introduced tuition fees for the entire academic year.

In a statement issued yesterday, the campus management explained that any up front fees only related to each semester.

“The university wishes to note that its normal billing system to students operates on a per semester basis. Hence, students will be liable to pay the relevant amount per semester for their applicable billing, rather than an annual upfront charge to cover the entire academic year,” the statement informed. It said the tuition fees ranged annually from $5,625 for the faculties of Social Sciences, humanities and Education, and Science and Technology, to $8,808 for the Faculty of Law and $16,618 for the Faculty of Medical Sciences [clincal].

“In order to meet the university’s normal conditions for registration, students are expected to settle the required fees for each semester, as well as university fees,” the UWI said.

Earlier this week, President of the Guild of Students Damani Parris told Barbados TODAY he was upset that the part-time students, in particular those who comprised about 51 per cent of the campus’ population, were being asked to find $7,000 by August at a time when they were already overburdened by State taxes, and other financial obligations on behalf of their families.

In addition to the tuition fees and other indebtedness, he expressed concern that students could not make part payments.

The Guild president also told this newspaper, his organisation still intended to file a court injunction against the government for forcing existing students to pay their full tuition fees from August.

He noted that even though the document had not yet been lodged in court, it was just a matter of time. Meanwhile, the Guild president says he is distressed by recent statements made by Minister of Education Ronald Jones.

“I am distressed at the fact that the minister could be so bold as to suggest that any student dropping out [of university] due to financial challenges, would be ‘throwing away the money invested in them’ or words to this effect,” Parris stated.

He said he was sure that Jones was aware the people of Barbados did not suddenly decide to abandon their education.

“The Guild wishes to remind that it was the Barbadian Government which abandoned its responsibility to its public and left the students unable to continue,” insisted the students leader.

“We in the Guild of Students are therefore insulted by any suggestion that we are somehow responsible for wasting the money invested in us,” he stated.

“There can be no blood extracted from stone, similarly, the people of Barbados, who are the students of this university, cannot extract further finances from whence there is none,” declared Parris.  The re-elected president was however pleased that there seemed to have been some progress made by the student revolving loan scheme on assisting students.

“We however, can only hope that issues with that facility including the requirement for guarantors between 18 and 55, excluding children with older parents; the requirement for guarantors and assets at all excluding poor children and the fact that the number of students who would apply to this facility, cannot be dealt with by the current staff compliment, I am not sure that no Barbadian student will be disadvantaged,” he pointed out.

“Not to suggest that I believe the minister is lying, it is just that evidence presented to the Guild of Students, suggests that many persons will be disadvantaged. I wish the government to become more serious in its engagement on this issue, return to the table, and negotiate with the representatives of the student body on these issues,” urged Parris.

Minister Jones reportedly made the remarks while addressing a recent conference of the Barbados Union of Teachers.

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