Principal of The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus Professor Eudine Barriteau has told Barbadians that the university is open to them, and not to regard tuition fees as a barrier to their education.
Her assurance to persons who felt cut off from university learning since the Freundel Stuart administration, two years ago, ended tuition fee support that Government had traditionally provided for Barbadians, came as she addressed the 2016 Students Awards Ceremony yesterday.
This annual ceremony recognizes mainly private sector and individual donors, who along with the university, have granted awards, bursaries, and scholarships to outstanding students.
While noting that the preference was for continued Government provision of students’ tuition fees, Barriteau said: “The reality is that tuition fees, almost with only perhaps one regional exception, are not a part of the higher education landscape.”
However, she acknowledged that meeting tuition payments was difficult for many.
“The Campus recognizes that for many of you, this is exceedingly challenging and we have devised a wide range of support services, payment plans and financial aid packages to ensure that as many of you as possible can obtain a university education,”
Addressing potential students across the island, Barriteau said: “Do not postpone your university education. Come and talk with our financial aid advisors before deciding to put your dreams on hold.”
She advised those students who have already made it to the university despite “current social and economic conditions in Barbados and the Caribbean” to be determined to make a success of the investments that got them there.
“You have a responsibility to show up and become deeply involved in your own educational growth,” she said.
Barriteau told the 2016 award recipients: “I also know all of you here are doing this . . . . You have accepted your role in your own development. Otherwise, you would not have won these scholarships and awards.”
Addressing the gathering of students, donors and well-wishers, President of the Guild of Students Olvine Holas spoke of the campus’ “great regret [at] the loss of those students who fell from our enrollment due to an inability to meet their fee commitments”.
The newly elected Guild President said: “While they may feel like forgotten individuals, I wish to assure them that we have not forgotten. Their absence from the campus haunts us”. (GA)