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Members of the administration of the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, led by Deputy Principal, Mr. Joseph Pereira, and University Bursar, Mr. Winston Bayley, this morning (Tuesday, July 6, 2004) met with representatives of the Guild of Students, led by President, Mr. Damion Crawford, to discuss concerns raised by the Guild regarding tuition fees that will come into effect for the 2004-2005 academic year.

The UWI outlined to the Guild the basis on which the new fees had been calculated. However, there was no agreement on the calculation of the tuition fees that had been approved by the governing University Council. On that basis, the Guild has indicated that it will take the matter to Council, through its Chairman and UWI Chancellor, Sir George Alleyne.

In the meantime, the UWI, Mona Campus will proceed with the fees that were set by the Council.

The Council of the University of the West Indies at its annual business meeting held on Friday, April 23 at the Mona campus, had 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 or ten percent, whichever is less, 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 increase in the Consumer Price Index in Jamaica for the previous 12 months to December 2003, was 14.1 percent but, consistent with Council policy, it was decided to cushion the students from the full 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.

With respect to graduate programmes, Council has agreed that new students in the 2004-2005 academic year should pay 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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