The Barbados chapter of the UWI Alumni Association wants Government to rethink it’s decision to force Barbadian students who are already at the Cave Hill Campus to pay their own tuition fees.
Adding its voice to the chorus of concerns about the move, the association said in a statement that it was of the “firm belief” that the status quo should remain for those already enrolled and the fee decision should only apply to new students joining the university from the coming academic year.
Though acknowledging Government’s constraints and weak financial position, the body said it was time to develop “viable contingencies” to assist those students who could not pay the fees and were in danger of not being able to access tertiary education.
It added that members of the local executive committee were also concerned about the dramatic fall in applications for the next academic year.
“We are also concerned about the fall-off in the number of students currently enrolled at the campus. There is no doubt in our minds, that this is a direct result of the imposition of the tuition fee for students.
“We deem such a significant percentage decrease in student application as an undesirable development for the university, and a negative step in the development of our country,” it said.
The group said members were particularly concerned about students who would be unable to meet their obligation in paying their tuition fees because their parents or guardians were unemployed, worked for “minimum wage”, or simply could not afford the extra burden placed on them by this financial imposition.
The alumni said, however, it was focused on working with the university to secure grants, scholarships and donations as a measure “to lessen the impact of the imposition of tuition fees”.