Northern Caribbean University President, Dr Lincoln Edwards.
By: Suzell Wray
Mandeville, Jamaica- President of the Northern Caribbean University (NCU), Dr Lincoln Edwards says a 1% reduction in general fees is the best the university could do to alleviate the financial strain on students as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Edwards made the declaration during a virtual town hall meeting on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, in what is his first address to the students since the institution announced a 1% reduction in general fees with tuition cost remaining the same.
According to Dr Edwards, general fees can now be rightly classified as technology fees since a large chunk of the university’s added financial expenses will be pumped into ensuring that students receive the best learning environment online.
He noted that he has heard the complaints and concerns of students regarding the decisions made in reducing the general fees, however, that’s the best that could be done since the university’s resources are limited.
“Some of you may feel it is not a lot but given where we are as a university with fees remaining the same, 1% is the best we could do. You will be aware that even at the UWI with some of their courses pegged to the U.S dollars, some of the students there are actually seeing an increase but at NCU we have done our best to bear your concerns in mind.”
In response to questions raised by students regarding the reason for general and jam copy fees in a virtual learning environment, Dr Edwards shared that facilities such as the library will be open to all students and a cost is required to maintain the grid.
“Take for example the Jamaica Public Service, there is a cost to maintain the grid even if its only five persons who use the electricity there is a cost that has to be maintained regardless.”
Dr Edwards, who’s currently in a 14-day quarantine after recently arriving from the United States, urged students to understand the challenges being faced as the university modulates virtually for the upcoming academic year.
Meanwhile, Vice-President of the Academic Administration, Dr Vivene Quarrie shared that the jam copy fee is still imperative, even as classes move online. She reminded students that the fee enables one to utilize copyright resources both online and face-to-face without breaching copyright regulations.
The town hall meeting is apart of a series of meetings being organized by NCU’s Academic Administration throughout the various colleges and school as students prepare to engage in remote learning. Also present at the meeting was Vice-President of Student Services, Dr Newton Cleghorne along with other administrators and Deans.