The Government of Grenada has sought to clear the air on assistance given to local students who are awarded scholarships to study at St. George’s University (SGU) at True Blue.
According to Minister of Climate Resilience, Senator Simon Stiell scholarship recipients are not entitled to additional assistance from Government after receiving 90% scholarship upon acceptance at SGU.
Speaking to reporters at the weekly held post-cabinet press briefing at the Ministerial Complex on Tuesday, Sen. Stiell pointed out that government has a Needy Assistance Programme for that specific purpose and only selective persons are eligible for such assistance.
“This perception that a recipient of a 90% SGU scholarship is entitled to then seek additional support from the Government of Grenada for the balance for that 10% and that there is entitlement there, is not correct…”, he said.
“The Government of Grenada has in place a Needy Assistance Programme where for the most-needy of students, those who genuinely cannot contribute to that additional 10%, then there are limited funds available to provide support there but for the most needy”, he added.
Sen. Stiell explained that the 100% scholarships that are applied for through the Ministry of Education and the 90% scholarship from SGU are both funded by the Government of Grenada.
This, he said, is part of the concession package that government has negotiated with the university that opened its doors back in the 1970’s under an act of Parliament passed by the then Labour party administration of late Prime Minister Sir Eric Matthew Gairy.
“There is an agreement in place between the Government of Grenada and St. George’s University and within that agreement there are two portions – the first are Government of Grenada wholly sponsored, 100% sponsored scholarships and within that agreement, there are somewhere in the region of 80 to 90 students who benefit from that. So, up to 90 students (are) receiving 100% scholarships from the Government of Grenada…”, he said.
“In addition to that, somewhere in the region of 200 students every year directly through St. George’s University (receive) scholarships up to a value of 90% of tuition fees…those scholarships are still funded by the Government of Grenada”, he added.
Sen. Stiell stressed that the 90% scholarships awarded are revenues the government would have normally collected from SGU.
He said: “When we look at the value of it, the approximate value of the 80 to 90% scholarships and 100% Government of Grenada Scholarship is somewhere in the region of $50 million, that is a direct expense to the Government of Grenada.
“The 200 plus scholarships offered through St. George’s University are valued somewhere in the region of $100 million per year. So, that is a total of approximately $150 million per year that the Government of Grenada invests in those scholarship programmes whether directly through St. George’s University or directly through the Government of Grenada”, he added.
The senior government minister noted that the 100% scholarship offered by government to locals is aimed at removing the burdens of repaying student loans by recipients and the same also goes for the 90% scholarship awardees.
Sen. Stiell felt that those students in receipt of the 90% scholarship should make “sacrifices to find those additional sum” of 10%.