JAMAICA-Government outlines new measures to help students meet financial obligations to UWI

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KINGSTON, Jamaica, May 2, CMC – The Jamaica government says it will provide assistance to final year local students who owe an estimated J$45 million (One Jamaica dollar =US$0.008 cents) in outstanding fees to the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI).
Education Minister Ruel Reid said that that students with outstanding balances below J$100,000 will be assisted through the Jamvat programme and that they will be required to apply for financial aid.
At least 329 students owe the university, which has campuses in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, about J$45 million and, of that number, about 225 students owe below the J$100,000 mark, Reid said.
“We are not going to be able to give them a straight grant. We will facilitate a fast-track Student Loan Bureau loan application process so that they will have an obligation to repay this intervention,” Reid said.
“While it would be wonderful for students to leave the university without the loan, at the same time they must not leave the university with outstanding balances. Kit is not fair I believe that they should be allowed to sit their exams and at a future date that may never happen they return to pay those outstanding accounts.
Reid said the students would be told “for you to have the benefit of sitting your final exams you must make direct and proper arrangement to pay your outstanding obligation.
“I think we will be sending a wring message to our young people that you have debt and don’t pay,” he said.
Last week, the UWI noted that Caribbean governments owe it more than US$100 million and as a result the regional tertiary institution said it was going to be in significant financial difficulty unless it is able to get an annual injection of US$75 million.

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