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The Council of the University of the West Indies at its annual business meeting held on Friday, April 23 at the Mona campus, set tuition fees for academic year 2004/2005 in accordance with its previous commitments to attain a cost recovery ratio of 20 percent of total economic costs on all three campuses, while keeping annual increases at least on par with the inflation rate in Jamaica for students at Mona.

Accordingly, fees at the Cave Hill campus in Barbados remain unchanged since at the existing fee levels, the cost recovery ratio of 20 percent had been attained; fees at the St Augustine campus in Trinidad also remain unchanged for the same reason, while at the Mona campus in Jamaica, the tuition fees have been increased by 10 percent. It was noted that the Consumer Price Index in Jamaica for the past 12 months to December 2003, was 14.1 percent but it was decided to cushion the students from the increase by keeping it to ten percent. With this increase, the overall cost recovery of 20 percent of economic costs will have been attained for the first time at Mona.

Council noted the concerns of the Mona Guild of Students Representative, Mr Damion Crawford, that some students might find it difficult to meet the new fees. However, it was pointed out that students having real hardship in meeting their obligations do have recourse to several assistance programmes, such as the Needy Students’ Fund operated by the Mona Campus administration, the Government’s assistance programme of accessing loans through the Students Loan Bureau, as well as a number of scholarships and bursaries made available by a variety of private sector and alumni organisations.

The Council also decided that graduate programmes should attract the same fees as the undergraduate ones. Previously, fees for graduate programmes, whether taught Masters or research degrees, were set at 50% of the undergraduate tuition fees as a means of encouraging enrolment of graduate students. It was further agreed that a portion of the fees would be retained by the School for Graduate Studies and Research to top up its fund for scholarships, grants and bursaries as a means of alleviating the financial burden on students who would qualify for assistance through an appropriate means test.
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