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577 million student debt stymies NCU financial stability

577 million student debt stymies NCU financial stability

Photo Source: Contributed

By: Jullian Blair

The Director of Finance at Northern Caribbean University (NCU), Phillip Williams delves into pecuniary matters as the school’s financial standing is at stake with millions in students’ debt which prompted the Jamaica Observer to publish an article about this on November 16, 2021.

President of NCU, Dr. Lincoln Edwards, shared with the Jamaica Observer that it is a better investment to grant scholarships and other support to the students to help them finish school and become useful citizens; rather, for them to become hopeless and attracted by criminal events.

The Director said in an interview on Topics on the Hill that there is an estimated $577 million students’ debt composed of long term and short-term debt. 

Williams described the financial status regarding students’ debt at NCU as being dire and that the pandemic exacerbated the situation.

“Our financial situation at this time is dire … COVID-19 has not helped the situation in any shape or form but has compounded it. The parents and financial supporters have lost their jobs, while some have reduced hours. Moreover, feeding organizations such as the Tourism sector have been closed down,” he said. 

He said students have less funding due to the pandemic that has made students unable to finance their tuition and financial pursuits and as a result, NCU’s financial state is in a critical shape thus contributing to the high debt that is currently being encountered.

Williams also mentioned that there are several ways of generating funds for NCU students which include the Restoring Every Student’s Confidence Using Education (RESCUE) programme, the Work-Study programme, the Scholarships and Student Aid programme, the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), the payment plan system, and also gaining financial advisements such as registering with the Students’ Loan Bureau (SLB).

He also added that the RESCUE programme aims to seek assistance for students who lack the financial resources to complete their studies.

“We go after those young bright minds within our underserved areas. We take them here at NCU and we source funding for them to prepare them academically, so that they too can go into society and make a positive contribution,” he said. 

According to Mr. Williams, the objective of the RESCUE programme is to reduce the criminal element or the opportunity of “one less” criminal within the society. The RESCUE programme at the same time is increasing productivity and producing more trainable individuals.

He believes contributing to the development of underserved youths will pave the way for them to complete their education. 

Williams is charging all alumni and financially capable individuals to jump on board to assist some of these students who need the help.


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