UWI Mona students barred from final exams to receive $9 million (Jamaican) in grants

Minister Reid Blues

KINGSTON, Jamaica -The Jamaica Ministry of Education will  provide $9 million (Jamaican) in grants to some final year students of the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) who were barred from sitting final year examinations due to outstanding fees owed to the university.

The students had lobbied the Ministry for help.

Addressing reporters at a press briefing on Monday, Education Minister Ruel Reid, said 329 final year students owe the university $45 million  combined.

Reid said 225 of them have outstanding balances of less than $100,000 for a combined debt of $9 million.

He said these students are being assisted through the Government’s Jamaica Values and Attitudes (JAMVAT) Programme, which requires beneficiaries to give 200 hours of public service in exchange for grant funding.

The education minister said the Government is not in a position to offer grants to the remaining 104 students who owe a total debt of $36 million.

Instead, Reid said efforts have been made to fast track loan applications through the Students’ Loan Bureau.

He said the education ministry can only intervene where necessary and students must honour their financial obligations to the university.

The education minister added that it would send a wrong signal if the government were to pay the entire bill.