Thu | May 23, 2019

Establish NHT-style trust to fund tertiary education – Crawford

Published:Saturday | February 2, 2019 | 12:20 AM

Opposition Senator Damion Crawford has proposed the creation of a fund, similar to the National Housing Trust (NHT), to help low-income families finance tertiary education.

Further, Crawford has suggested that the NHT establish a rent-to-own system that would make home ownership easier for young people.

Crawford, who is also a lecturer at The University of the West Indies (UWI) and former member of parliament for East Rural St Andrew, said the proposed trust fund for tertiary education would help hundreds of students avoid deregistration each year because they are unable to pay.

“I’ve been lecturing since 2005, and I’ve never seen a deregistered student return. When they are deregistered, they have the most plans [about] what they are going to do. What kinda work are they going to get?” he questioned.

The opposition senator cited statistics provided by former Prime Minister Bruce Golding from a tracer study conducted by The UWI in 2016. According to Golding, the study shows that 25 per cent of the graduating class were earning less than $50,000 per month.

“So when you deregister a person without a degree, him a mek $30,000. When would he make enough to return?” Crawford posited.

He suggested that the trust fund could operate on a points system based on contributions from workers and their employers. In addition, Crawford said the points could be shared with other family members.

“I put a per cent, the company put a per cent, and I use my mother’s points and go and borrow money to go to school,” he explained.

“We are saying that even if your parents don’t contribute, even if your mother never work, your father never work, if you work for two years, you get your points and you come back,” Crawford suggested.

Under the rent-to-buy proposal, the opposition senator said that the NHT could make houses available to young people at a monthly rate that would include the rental cost and a savings component.

“There is nothing to prevent the NHT from saying, ‘Listen, $50,000 or $40,000 for rent, $20,000 to maintain the property, and $20,000 is your savings,” he said.

“In five years, that is your down payment, and you move on into having a mortgage,” Crawford added.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com

‘I’ve been lecturing since 2005, and I’ve never seen a deregistered student return. When they are deregistered, they have the most plans [about] what they are going to do. What kinda work are they going to get?’