Six months after Barbadian students were forced to start paying tuition fees at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) outgoing principal Professor Sir Hilary Beckles is reporting a 21 per cent decline in enrolment as of January this year.
Giving an account of his stewardship in an 82-page annual report for 2013-2014, Sir Hilary said that enrolment stood at 6,863, representing a fall off of 1,771 students when compared to the corresponding period last year.
The substantial drop in student registration was reflected in a major decrease in income for the campus.
Revenue from tuition and other student fees fell by about $1 million – from $32.7 million in 2013 to $31.7 million.
The significant fall in student numbers has occurred despite the combined efforts of the campus and various financial institutions in Barbados to aid those who could not afford to pay the tuition fees.
Sir Hilary’s report gave a breakdown of the impact the tuition fee policy has been having on the faculties, noting that Faculty of Social Sciences which accounts for the largest number of students experienced a 23 per cent decrease in enrolment; the Faculty of Humanities and Education has been hit by a 30 per cent fall in undergraduate and graduate populations; the Faculty of Science and Technology has seen a 13 per cent decline; and the number of students enrolled in the Faculties of Law and Medical Sciences have dropped by seven per cent and two per cent respectively.
“While the campus continued to be deeply troubled by its financial situation, and especially by the negative impact that the new tuition policy will have on the human resource development of Barbados and especially on persons in the lower income brackets, it has taken comfort in the continued support of the Government of Barbados which has provided the campus with sufficient funds in time to meet the campus’ monthly payroll as well as some relative alleviation of outstanding debts,” Sir Hilary said.