There’s been another major financial blow to existing and prospective Barbadian students at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies. Already being asked for the first time to find between $7,000 and $20,000 in tuition fees from August, the administration is now telling students, it will not accept any part-payment –– it’s the full sum upfront, or nothing doing.
President of the Guild of Students, Damani Parris, told Barbados TODAY he was very worried about this turn of events, saying that it could cause impact even further on the 51 per cent part-time student population and 30 per cent full-time roll. Parris said the state of affairs was so serious the campus management had decided to reopen the application process to recoup the massive drop in income brought on by the dramatic fall in students returning or attending for the first time.
“These are issues which critically concern the guild at this time. To be perfectly honest with you, I must say that I am quite upset; and we at the guild are aware of these issues; we are feeling the brunt of the student demands on these issues and we are feeling the effects of these administrative decisions that were taken,” the Guild of Students head lamented.
“As it relates to the reopening of the application process, that needed to be done at a time when the application numbers were so low that, in reality, the campus will not be able sustain itself in the September semester. That is extremely important; it is important for the continuation of the campus itself and for all of us who are seeking degrees from the organization. If the organization cannot support itself because of such a dramatic fall in numbers, then we will be facing much more critical crises at the University of the West Indies at Cave Hill; and it could result in a collapse of the campus in its entirety,” he pointed out.
Parris, who conceded that without a miracle, he himself would not be able to continue his studies in September, said the guild supported the reopening of applications, considering the UWI could not survive unless it received additional funds at this time.
“The campus is not immune to the environment in which it exists and it cannot survive ad infinitum in an environment where things are very harsh. They are very difficult, and most Barbadians are aware of the very difficult economic climate that we are facing,” added the student leader.
“The campus,” he asserted, “is also suffering from those situations and is suffering from those situations in an environment where it is owed $185 million; in an environment where students are being asked to find $7,000 to return to school by September at least. These are really critical issues that will result in significant fall-off at the campus already, and an additional attempt to garner more students . . . support for the student body intake to the application process is something that should be natural for a campus who is suffering as much as the Cave Hill Campus. So we will support such a move as we attempt to cushion the blow as much as possible on the general student numbers at the campus.”
Parris also told Barbados TODAY that an earlier decision by the Guild of Students to bring a court injunction against the Government for imposing tuition fees on already enrolled students was still being pursued. When contacted for comment, principal of the campus, Sir Hilary Beckles, was not available, but promised to get back to Barbados TODAY.