Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 4th 2016 Contents Minimum wage still to be reviewed --- McLeod News --- Page A6
Thursday, August 4, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Students currently pursuing
degrees in accredited tertiary
education institutions will con-
tinue to receive Government
Assisted Tuition Expenses (Gate)
programme funding for their
entire programme of study.
However, students who are reg-
istered to begin programmes this
semester will only receive full
funding for the academic year
2016/2017, while those seeking
entry in 2017/2018 and beyond
will have to undergo means testing
in order to qualify.
And for the academic year
2017/2018 and beyond, tertiary
level students will be required to
pay 25 per cent of their tuition
Medical students seeking to
study at the St George s University
and people over 50 will also no
longer be able to access the pro-
These are only a few of the
major changes introduced to the
Gate programme announced by
Education Minister Anthony Gar-
cia yesterday, following a special
Presenting the list of 18 rec-
ommendations during a media
briefing at the Office of the Prime
Minister, St. Clair, Garcia assured
they were taken in the best interest
of the nation in light of the current
The special Cabinet meeting
preceded the annual vacation leave
of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley
which begins today.
Deliberated on and accepted by
the Cabinet, Garcia said the deci-
sions were expected to yield an
immediate savings of $100 million
in the first year, increasing yearly
until Government reaches their
expenditure target of $500 mil-
Among the long-term plans for
the programme is Government s
intention to establish a National
Education Savings Fund, which
will provide tax incentives to pri-
vate organisations to make fund
contributions on behalf of the
children of their employees, and
fiscal incentives to encourage
insurance companies and credit
unions to invest in the develop-
ment of education savings prod-
Reinforcing Government s offi-
cial policy change regarding the
Gate programme, Garcia said they
were committed to retaining it
but also ensuring that "it is rel-
evant, easily accessible and avail-
able to all those who need it."
Unwilling to rule out any future
review of the Gare policy, Garcia
said: "Of course, nothing in this
world is cast in concrete and
depends on how things go, there
might be the possibility of changes
but at present this is the official
position of the Government."
One of the major changes
announced was that effective 2017,
students whose household income
falls below $10,000 would be eli-
gible for 100 per cent funding,
while students whose household
income exceeds $10,000 would
have to pay 25 per cent of their
Saying the methodology used
to arrive at the $10,000 ceiling
was instituted by the Task Force
Committee who compiled the 70-
page report, Garcia said Cabinet
agreed to increase the figure from
$9,000 so as to ensure no one
was at a disadvantage in light of
the current economic crisis.
"The report revealed that so
far, with respect to Gate, most of
the funding was accessed by per-
sons in the middle and lower
income brackets. We need to
ensure we lift that bar so that per-
sons in the lower income bracket
can benefit," he said.
Garcia said the process to be
used to determine who is eligible
would be administered by a special
team from the ministry.
While relief swept across the
current student population, med-
ical students hoping to enroll at
the St. George s University had
their hopes dashed after Garcia
announced that Government was
discontinuing funding new stu-
Asked to explain that, he said:
"What we have found with
respect to St George s University,
the cost of funding is much higher
than the cost of funding at any
of our regional campuses. In addi-
tion to that, students enrollment
at St George s is way below that
of St Augustine, Cave Hill and
Indicating that he didn t
"envisage" any increase in fees
at individual tertiary level insti-
tutions, Garcia said any such
measure would have to be
brought to the UWI Finance and
General Purpose Committee, of
which he was a member.
On funding for post graduate
degrees, he said effective 2017,
funding would only be made avail-
able to students whose pro-
grammes were in alignment with
the country s developmental needs
but noted further discussion need
to take place on those needs.
He said the restriction on fund-
ing to people 50 years and older
was not meant to discourage this
group from accessing tertiary edu-
cation, but noted: "We are faced
with a position where because of
our financial situation, we have
to ensure that the Gate pro-
gramme is run in an efficient
manner and also, there must be
some level of cutbacks, because
if our economy is shrinking, obvi-
ously everybody must make a sac-
"It was this view of Cabinet
that persons over the age of 50
would have already been employed
and would be in a better position
to contribute to their education."
Garcia admitted that the
mechanics were still being worked
out in some areas, including deter-
mining the criteria of the means
test and the final decision by the
Accreditation Council of T&T on
which institutions would receive
the GATE assistance.
But he said he was satisfied that
new initiatives would eradicate
and discourage much of the
wastage that seemed inherent in
the programme and assured robust
monitoring systems would be
introduced at the ministerial level
to ensure the programme is more
effective. SEE PAGES A4 and A5
University of the West Indies St Augustine Campus
Student Guild president, Makesi Peters, said yesterday
the guild was happy there were no adverse changes to
the Gate programme for the new academic year.
However, he said it was somewhat discriminatory that
funding for new students over the age of 50 was ter-
"In term of the means testing, we are happy that it
was deferred to the following year. However, we feel as
though there needs to be more consultation in that area,"
he told the T&T Guardian in a telephone interview after
Education Minister Anthony Garcia announced the new
"We want to ensure that it does not become political
and that everyone gets funding who is most likely to be
vulnerable. I think that is where the focus should be,"
Peters said they believe that the $10,000 and over
income bracket, recommended for those to pay 25 per
cent of their tuition fees, should be raised to $15,000.
He said it would be "very difficult" for a single parent
or even a family who has three children attending uni-
versity to pay the 25 per cent for each child.
Peters said cutting the funding for students at the St
George s University in Grenada was "a good move."
With a student population of 18,000, guild officials
are set to meet today to discuss the matter before releasing
a formal statement on the changes. (RKR)
• Effective August 2016 students who are at present
enrolled in various programmes will continue to receive
funding for the entire programme.
• Students who are registered to begin programmes in
2016 will be funded fully for the academic year 2016/2017.
• Effective for the academic year 2017-2018 and beyond a
means test will be used.
• For the academic years 2017-2018 and beyond, students
will be required to pay 25 per cent of their tuition fees as
• Effective August 2017, students who household income
falls below $10,000 will be eligible for 100 per cent funding.
This will be determined by means testing.
• Where the household income is above $10,000 students
will be required to pay 25 per cent of their tuition fees.
• Where the household income is above $30,000 students
will be required to pay 50 per cent of tuition fees.
• Effective from August 2017 funding for post graduate
degrees will be available to students whose programmes are
in alignment with the country's developmental needs.
• Effective August 2017, only institutions and programmes
accredited by ACTT will be funded.
• Effective August 2017, TVET programmes for Level III
and above will be funded.
• Effective August 2016, students should only be funded
for one undergraduate and one postgraduate programme.
Continuing students should be allowed to complete
undergraduate programmes for which funding had previously
• Effective August 2016, the loan ceiling for students at
local institutions will be raised to $35,000 annually, with the
ceiling for students at regional institutions to remain at
$75,000 annually. In the long-term, GORTT will review its
policies in respect of being the sole guarantor of loans and the
subsidization of interest.
• Effective August 2016, persons over the age of 50 years
will no longer eligible for Gate funding. Continuing students
over the age of 50 enrolled in undergraduate programmes will
be granted funding to complete their programmes.
• Effective August 2017, students enrolled in non-medical
programmes at regional campuses of UWI that are offered at
the UWI, St Augustine Campus, will only be funded to the
equivalent level of funding at St Augustine Campus.
• Effective August 2016, GORTT will discontinue the
funding of new students in the medical programme at SGU.
• Additional resources will be provided to FGAD to
effectively manage its increased responsibilities.
• GORTT will consider additional funding including offering
Education Savings Bonds. Arrangements and details to be
• GORTT will establish a National Education Savings Fund
(private sector organisations will also be encouraged by tax
incentives to make fund contributions on behalf of the
children of their employees or to engage in other philanthropic
initiatives that build the fund.)
• GORTT will consider fiscal incentives to encourage
insurance companies and credit unions to invest in the
development of education savings products.
For breaking news, call 225-4465 Exts 2032, 2033 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org UWI Guild happy,
but seeks talks
Garcia announces sweeping Gate changes
Students get year's grace
UWI Guild president Makesi Peters, right, speaks with fellow students, from left, Woodler Fils, from Haiti, Marise Ramsaran and Guild
treasurer Johnathan St Louis-Nahous about changes to the GATE programme at the St Augustine Campus yesterday. PHOTO;ABRAHAM DIAZ
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