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Barbados cancels free UWI tuition

Published:Thursday | August 15, 2013 | 12:00 AM

The Barbados government says it will no longer pay tuition fees for nationals studying at the University of the West Indies (UWI).

Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Chris Sinckler in his 2013/14 budget presentation on Tuesday, said that effective 2014, Barbadian students pursuing studies at the university's three campuses will be required to pay their own tuition fees, while the government continues to fund economic costs.

The subsidised economic costs could be as much as 80 per cent of the tuition.

Sinckler said it will save Barbados BDS$42 million a year.

The cost to the government has risen over the years as more nationals pursue tertiary education.

The intake at UWI Cave Hill campus, which is located in Barbados, has been expanding since 2003/04.

"In 1999 for example, there were around 3,568 undergraduate students at the Cave Hill [campus] and by 2007 this number had increased to around 6,718 and currently stands at around 7,200 students," said Sinckler.

Contribution Increase

"The expansion has meant major increases in the government of Barbados' contribution to UWI."

In 2007, Barbados' financial contribution to UWI was BDS$79.3 million; the next year it shot to BDS$120.5 million.

"To put things in context, for the entire period 1999 to 2007 combined, the total contribution required from the government of Barbados to the Cave Hill Campus was BDS$543.2 million, compared to the BDS$636.3-million contribution required for the 2008 to 2012 period. The reality is that the amount required in the last five years was BDS$93 million greater than the previous nine years combined," the finance minister said.

Students whose parents cannot afford university fees will be offered assistance after means testing.