Barbados govt offers 3,000 bursaries to help students attend UWI

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – The Barbados government, which last year announced that it would stop paying tuition fees for its nationals attending the University of the West Indies (UWI), says it will provide an estimated 3,000 bursaries to help students attend the tertiary institution.

“I have not gone public with it till now. Based on the resources which we have under the Ministry’s control, we should be able to do about 3,000 bursaries,” said Education Minister Ronald Jones.

His announcement comes on the heels of complaints that interest rates on students’ loans are too high.

“I know young people have been saying ‘you need to do more to help us over the threshold now that we have made the adjustment in tuition fees and we are committed to that.”

President of the Guild of Undergraduates, Damani Parris said earlier this week that commercial interest rates on student loans are too high.

“They (government) have the responsibility to lobby on our behalf as it relates to the commercial banking sector and make sure that loans that are offered by that sector are reasonable,” Parris said.

Last August, Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Chris Sinckler in his 2013/14 budget presentation, said that effective 2014, Barbadian students pursuing studies at the university’s three campuses will be required to pay their own tuition fees, while the government continues to fund economic costs.

Sinckler said the tuition fees range from BDS$5,625 to BDS$65,000 (One Barbados dollar=US$0.50 cents) and that the new policy would reduce the transfer to UWI by an estimated BDS$42 million a year.

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