Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 27th 2014 Contents SBG4 COVER STORY
SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt JULY 27 • 2014
Governments since 1962
have fashioned policy not
only with the benefits
increased investment in
human capital through
education can bring, but
also with thought to cit-
izen s thirst for education and the upward
mobility it has traditionally provided.
From universal primary and secondary
schooling to free tertiary education and laptops,
Trinbagonians have been able to partake in
educational opportunities unrivalled in many
parts of the world. The UK or North America
are now not the only destinations for degree
seekers as many students are opting to stay at
home. A point, public affairs officer at the US
Embassy, Alexander McLaren, emphasised at
a seminar for guidance counsellors hosted by
the Embassy s Information Service on July 15.
McLaren said: "The difference here is that
students in T&T can access the GATE pro-
gramme, almost for free. It is a wonderful pro-
gramme that I often hold up to my American
visitors of how T&T is using its oil wealth to
benefit the people. Americans would love a
programme like that, but everything in life has
advantages and disadvantages."
McLaren explored, what in his opinion was,
one of the unintended consequences of GATE.
"The disadvantage of GATE is, when students
graduate with a degree from Trinbagonian uni-
versity they are competing with a large number
of people with the same degrees from the same
school. They have to find a way to stand out.
Studying abroad---whether it is for four years
or for a shorter term---is one of the tools that
will let them stand out."
What "standing out" costs
The Sunday Business Guardian was unable
to find statistics that prove or disprove
McLaren s assertion.
According to UWI St Augustine principal,
Professor Clement Sankat, in the university s
prospectus 2014/15, 18,000 full- and part-
time students are currently attending the St
Augustine branch of the UWI.
While there were no figures on hand for last
year s intake, a review of the university s 2010/11
annual report shows that 5,576 students entered
the university in 2011/2012. This figure has
been increasing steadily over the decade.
Registrar at the University of T&T, Phillip
Robinson, said the university took in 2,700
students last year.
On the other hand, figures from the Institute
for International Education (IIE) show that
1,532 undergraduate students from new and
returning students from T&T went to the US
to study last year. This is down nine per cent
over the 2012 figure of 1,689.
This may mean that students are choosing
the convenience of accessing a tertiary edu-
cation locally as opposed to uprooting them-
selves to study abroad. It may also mean that
people do not want to study abroad. It can
also mean that more people would, in fact,
study abroad if they could find the funding to
Indeed, several of the people that the Sunday
BG spoke to said they went overseas to do their
degrees for life experiences as well to gain a
If one makes the choice to do so, one will
find that studying abroad is not cheap.
Education USA, a network of advising centres
in 170 countries that assists international stu-
dents with finding information and financial
aid, said that for room and board at a two-
year community college, American students
could expect to spend, per year, on average,
$20,554; at a four-year public college, $35,778;
at a four-year private institution, $62,533. Inter-
national students can expect their tuition and
associated expenses to be slightly higher. All
figures are quoted in US dollars.
In the United Kingdom, legislative adjust-
ments have allowed British universities to
increase the cap on fees charged to British stu-
dents to as much as £9,000 per year. Prior to
1998, tertiary studies were free to British nation-
als.In that year, the government introduced
fees for the first time, stipulating that univer-
sities were to charge students no more than
the initial cap of £1,000.
Newspaper, The Telegraph, said in a 2013
article that the average fee for a three-year
course was £25,941. The international student
Web site, QS Top Universities, said that inter-
national students in Britain could pay fees as
high as £38,532, or as much as £12,591 more.
Meanwhile, in Canada, average fees for a citizen
of that country were Can$15,000 for a three-
year programme, but depending on the province
and university, fees could be as much as six
times more for internationals.
Converted to TT dollars, these costs easily
cross into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But some are finding a way to pay.
Financing a foreign education
According to IIE figures (see graph), this
time from 2008, the majority of international
students heading to the United States, get their
funding from friends and family (62 per cent).
Lisa, Tim and Carla all attended school in
Lisa and Tim attended an Ivy League school
to do their graduate degrees.
Carla opted to transfer her credit from a
local university to a college in New York to
finish her undergraduate degree in IT.
Janice studied in Jamaica and the UK; Kavita,
in Canada. They were all financed in some
way by relatives.
Carla said, "It made no sense to go to a uni-
versity here because they were not accepting
the credits from the associate degree I did. I
would have had to start all over again and do
a four-year degree, after I had already done
Her local school was a partner of the college
in New York, allowing her to transfer into the
overseas Bachelors programme. She was able
to get a partial scholarship of US $1,000 dollars,
but tuition was still US$21,000 per year after
How students finance a foreign degree
Figures from the Institute for International Education (IIE) show that 1,532 undergraduate
students from new and returning students from T&T went to the US to study last year.
This is down nine per cent over the 2012 figure of 1,689.
Continued on Page 5
A BREAKDOWN OF TERTIARY EDUCATION FUNDING
FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IN THE US.
Source: Institute for International Education
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