As she delivered the startling report during Friday evening’s matriculation ceremony, the principal called on Government to raise the minimum threshold for the Higher Education Financial Grant from $25,000 to $35,000, a move she believes will assist potential students.
Professor Barriteau said while 4,803 persons had applied for placements with the campus offering places to 2,478 of them, only 1,537 or just 70 per cent accepted the offer.
However, the situation worsened when only 1,071 registered – 135 graduate and 936 undergraduates.
“The Government has provided a Higher Education Financial Grant tied to annual household income. Students in households with income up to $25,000 per year qualify for full tuition, while those whose household income is between $25,001 to $45,000 qualify for partial tuition. The University of the West Indies welcomes this support and thanks the Barbados Government for making it available,” she said.
“Yet, we have 2,478 students who have qualified and have been accepted to start studies, 1,537 who accepted a place at Cave Hill, but the reality that only 1,071 are here. On that basis I am asking the Government through the Ministry of Education to raise the minimum threshold for annual household income from $25,000 to $35,000.”
Professor Barriteau said while the campus is in a beautiful location and Barbados offers comparative social, political and economic stability, the cost of living in the country is high, leaving many persons with an annual household income of just over $25,000 struggling to make ends meet.
“$30,000 per year translates into a gross, monthly income of $2,500 per month; this is before taxes, national insurance, rent, groceries, and transportation, – the basic survival needs. We believe the major difference between acceptance and registration is the financial gap,” she added, in her address themed The UWI Cave Hill Campus: An Inclusive University Space.
University enrolment has been declining since Freundel Stuart administration took the decision to cease paying tuition fees for Barbadian students.
During the 2013 academic year, total enrolment stood at 8,711, of which there were 1,285 graduate students and 7,426 undergraduate students.
Last year, total enrolment was down to 4,772, with graduate enrolment dropping to 266, while undergraduate numbers were 4,516.
There also continues to be a disparity between male and female students, with males representing 33 percent of the 4,025 undergraduate students this year.
This is mirrored at the graduate level where the percentage of males registered as of September 1 stood at just 26.5 percent.
The principal issued an appeal to young men in Barbados and the region, saying they need to make the time to invest in a university education in order to reap a lifetime of rewards.
First Published loopnews.