Calls to revise gov’t grant financing qualification

Principal of the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, Professor Eudine Barriteau, has appealed to Government to raise the minimum income qualifying threshold for its Higher Education Financial Grant.

Barriteau told the campus’ matriculation ceremony that 57 percent of qualified and accepted applicants did not register for this academic year due to financial constraints.

The principal’s call came on the heels of an announcement by other campus officials earlier this week, that a significant number of prospective students have not taken up offers to pursue studies at UWI Cave Hill because they could not afford the costs.

There are further concerns that the drop in enrolment levels since the removal of the government subsidy could further affect the institution’s finances.

Barriteau told the ceremony that of the 4,803 new applications received as of September 1, 2,478 were offered places and 1,537 accepted.

Principal of UWI Cave Hill Professor Eudine Barriteau.

“Of the 1,537 that accepted the offer to study at Cave Hill, a total of 1,071 students have registered, 135 graduate and 936 undergraduates,” she said.

Barriteau noted that while this represents a high registration rate, the new students account for only 43 per cent of the potential students who were accepted.

“Ladies and gentlemen 57 per cent of the qualified and accepted applicants did not make it to Cave Hill.  When we telephoned and spoke to some of these potential students they emphasized their straitened financial circumstances,” she told the audience.

Given the inability of the students to meet the cost of their tertiary education, Barriteau wants the Freundel Stuart administration to raise the threshold of the Higher Education Financial Grant from $25,000 to $35,000 per year.

Under the grant programme, students in households with income up to $25,000 per year will qualify for full tuition, while those whose household income is between $25,001 to $45,000 qualify for partial tuition.

Some of the new students attending last nights ceremony.

“The Cave Hill Campus is in a beautiful location and Barbados offers comparative social, political and economic stability.  But the cost of living in Barbados is high and many persons with an annual household income of just over $25,000 will still be struggling to make ends meet.

“Thirty thousand dollars per year translates to a gross monthly income of $2,500 per month; this is before taxes, national insurance, rent, groceries and transportation, the basic survival needs,” Barriteau said.

President of the Guild of Students, Olvine Holas, also lamented the financial challenges being faced by students, as well as strained government budgets, “at a time when the region needs more investment in innovation and knowledge creation”.

“I acknowledge that there are clear challenges with negotiating this particular period in time, with such strain placed on the budgets and the global economic recession giving way to a slow and painful recovery. We in the Guild of Students are deeply concerned about the future that we will have.

“Certainly we must improve the number of students which we sent to the University. We, if we are serious about economic growth, must increase the university’s role,” Holas said.

4 Responses to Calls to revise gov’t grant financing qualification

  1. Joan Wickham
    Joan Wickham September 3, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    uwi, needs to gets its house in order, /stop expecting government to do every thing, why are you an institution for higher learning again? should you not be able to generate money with brilliant ideas, hummmmmmm

  2. Alex Alleyne September 3, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    Think education expensive, try ignorance.

  3. Brien King
    Brien King September 3, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    How about you all use those brilliant brains of yours to develop ways and means to better lives here. Develop things for agriculture, household items that are environmentally friendly, ways to use various fruits and vegetables, ways to heal the body fast without side effects, ways to diagnose sickness quickly for our people and I mean everyone here, mainly the real poor. These are doors that you can open to generate more income, the question is, why are not you using them ? Why is Barbados sooooo dependent on companies overseas for most if not all of our needs ? This is the high of foolishness among our people, this is part of why the economy is the way it is and why other countries and the imf can have Barbados over a barrel. When are we really going to start looking out for our own ?

  4. Tony Webster September 4, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Those of our fore-fathers who really, really , ” punched above their weight” during the last 100 years ( no, this is not a typo) …must be very uncomfortable where they rest. So much suffered by our black brothers; such strength of character, ability; and such intelligence invested by all true sons of the soil, towards real in achievements of all kinds…all in order to leave us a sound foundation upon which to build in 1966.

    And now, we suddenly find ourselves down in Rocky Gully…looking for some “water”- both of the physical, and metaphorical types. I am in my 73rd year, yet I wrestle to find the truth: are leaders created; or creatures of circumstance; or just specially blessed and sent by God? Could we perhaps outlaw “opportunists and false prophets”?

    Lord, you cud send a cupple, of all versions-and genders.


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