Govt rejects UWI tuition plan

The Ministry of Education has rejected a proposal by the Guild of Students of the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus, which was designed to save students from increases in tuition fees.

Guild president Kai Bridgewater told Barbados TODAY that after sending in the proposal last month, he was informed that Government simply did not have the money it would take to avoid the increases which take effect next month.

But he said he was also frustrated that despite a promise from Prime Minister Freundel Stuart to meet with him to discuss the matter, with the aim of coming up with a solution, those talks have not yet materialized.

Bridgewater said he was, however, appreciative that Opposition Leader Mia Mottley had a more favourable response and had met to listen to the Guild’s concerns.

Bridgewater explained that if the Guild’s proposal had been accepted, the Stuart administration would have had to pay the approximately $1.5 million in fee increases announced by the university, which would have been deducted from the over $94 million Government owes the tertiary learning institution.

“The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education had gotten back to me after viewing the proposal with the Minister of Education. She said right now the Ministry of Education is unable to accommodate this proposal because it was ten per cent of the [ministry’s] Budget,” Bridgewater disclosed today.

“After this, we were very aggrieved and wanted to know what was the next move. We continued to reach out to the Prime Minister every day for an additional two weeks, but up to this date we still haven’t got the meeting that we have been promised and I can tell you that up to today, August 30, we still have not gotten any feedback [from him] . . . .So it seems as if the promise of the meeting was just a false promise,” the Guild president added.

Stating that the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education was more accommodating, Bridgewater said she had organized a meeting last Thursday with the Ministry of Education, university officials and the Guild to discuss the proposal.

He said during that meeting he was told the Higher Education Financial Grant was in place to help Barbadian students in need.

However, Bridgewater said this was flawed since the grant did not cater to people whose household income was above the stipulated amount – between $25,001 and $35,000 annually or $2,100 and $3,000 monthly for those seeking a partial tuition grant.

He said the ministry requested that the Guild provides evidence that students were actually struggling to make tuition payments.

“They said that to bring this [proposal] to the Ministry of Finance to have funds made available, they need to have strong physical data to outline that this is the reality of the students and students are not able to complete degrees.

“They also need to know the enrolment numbers from the university, which will be accessible at the end of registration. They need to know if it is really the case that the tuition increase is really affecting the students,” Bridgewater explained, adding that he had a three-week deadline to gather the data.

In that regard, he said he was calling on students who were having problems paying tuition to contact the Guild at guildofstudents@cavehill.uwi.edu or call the office between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

“Without the students coming forward, we won’t have a compelling argument,” he acknowledged.

Notwithstanding, Bridgewater said he continued to hear many stories from students of “how rough they are finding it and basically that the tuition increase has been the straw that broke the camel’s back because they were already struggling to pay, but the additional $375 is just pushing them over the edge”.

It was in early May that the university announced that effective September 2017 tuition fees at the Cave Hill Campus in the Faculty of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education, and Sciences and Technology would move from $5,625 to $6,000 annually, while tuition fees in the Faculty of Law would increase from $8,808 to $9,000. Fees for programmes within the Faculty of Medical Sciences remained unchanged.

“The reality is that the sustainability of the university was at risk and we understand this was an issue that needed to be addressed and the university needed to raise the fees to recoup some of this money,” Bridgewater said, while pledging to continue to fight for students who were finding it difficult to meet their tuition costs.

The hike in tuition fees came four years after the Democratic Labour Party administration stopped paying tuition costs for Barbadian students.

The Guild’s proposal was inspired by the Jamaican government’s move in April of this year to provide JM$100 million (BDS$1.5 million) to the Mona Campus to help students facing hardship.


marlonmadden@barbadostoday.bb

13 Responses to Govt rejects UWI tuition plan

  1. Mazie Taylor
    Mazie Taylor August 31, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Not surprised. DEM destroying young bright people dreams of higher education that all of them get FREE at UWI.

    Reply
  2. Kamila Burrowes
    Kamila Burrowes August 31, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Sighs

    Reply
  3. Chris Barnett
    Chris Barnett August 31, 2017 at 8:50 am

    = So nice of them 🙂

    Reply
  4. Randolph August 31, 2017 at 9:42 am

    But now they are talking of putting Barbados first.

    Reply
  5. Leroy August 31, 2017 at 9:45 am

    That would demoralize anyone from approaching Gov with a solution.

    Reply
  6. milli watt August 31, 2017 at 10:03 am

    this students guild has been accused of not being transparent with how it spends money. If I recall they have been a few in the recent pass having to resign after money issues were ventilated. long story short this UWI has always been less than transparent with how it spends money or should I say squander money. ASK NOT WHAT YOUR UNIVERSITY CAN DO FOR YOU — ASK WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOUR SELF

    Reply
    • Carson C Cadogan September 1, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      A lot of money went missing in these student guilds. Why does he not talk about that? If the guild people would stop tiefing the guild money they would be in a good position to help themselves.

      I know a young lady who took part in a calypso contest sponsored by the guild and came third, up to today they have not given her the prize money which she won.

      Reply
  7. David Hall August 31, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    seems as if Only pork barrel-projects that provide kickbacks attracts the attention of the current administration.

    Reply
  8. Carlisle norville August 31, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    when are you people going to wake up to the reality,( that there is a system (A Modus Operandi) that relates to how far you color people will go ,you all taking it for granted that slavery done check the laws in parliament that came down from England, that stipulate how blacks are to be treated here on this island ,a people that do NOT know their true history, have no pass or any future ,all you people know is the white mans story but dont know your history , people do you understand that you are under a system directed by a white slave owner( its called the willie lynch chip,) all you smart ones Gooble the willie lynch chip, & see what has been done to you its time to know the truth do this my sisters & brothers.!

    Reply
  9. sandy perkins September 1, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    I really hate this GOVERNMENT.These poor kids.

    Reply
    • Carson C Cadogan September 1, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      I don’t see why?

      Reply
  10. Carson C Cadogan September 1, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    I wonder if this dude knows that you cant get blood out of stone?

    Reply

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