The cabinet of ministers was meeting Monday morning with the board of management of Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC), in the aftermath of a tuition fee increase announced by the learning institution.
The cabinet has said that it is concerned about the 100 percent hike.
Senior Communications Officer for the government of Saint Lucia, Nicole Mc Donald, told reporters that the meeting with the SALCC management comes in light of the issues and challenges that the college has been facing for some time.
“Cabinet felt it was important to get an idea of the strategic direction of the college and where we are at right now in terms of the services provided to the students,” Mc Donald stated.
She observed that there have been reports in the media regarding an increase in fees at the SALCC.
“Cabinet is aware of this information and we are also aware that for quite some time Sir Arthur Lewis Community College has been moving forward efforts to increase fees and efforts to basically move to being a university, and we support the approach in terms of wanting the SALCC to improve their services.”
However Mc Donald said the administration is concerned about the 100 percent increase and how it will impact students, families and the general environment for educating citizens.
“That is of concern and that is one of the issues being discussed this morning,” the government spokesperson explained.
“I can tell the Saint Lucian public that based on the information we have right now, we are not in full support of such an increase and we would like Sir Arthur Lewis Community College to provide a rationale for heading in this direction,” Mc Donald disclosed.
“For now, the decision is pending and is under review by the cabinet.”
Mc Donald revealed that the government contributes $15 million towards student fees and supporting the activities of the SALCC, which has an enrollment of about 2000 students.
“That is one of the things we want clarified in terms of how the money is used and ensure it is being managed in a way that redounds to the benefit of the students,” she noted.
SALCC, in a July 31, 2018 letter, informed parents and students of an increase in tuition and other fees for the Academic Year 2018-2019.
According to the latter, the decision was taken ‘after careful scrutiny’ of the institution’s financial resources’.
“The Board of Governors of SALCC has approved an increase in tuition fees across the various Departments of the College. While it is never an easy decision to raise fees, the decision remains a critical component of the financial management of the College. We can assure you that the fee increase remains fairly priced and competitive with colleges within Saint Lucia and the region,” the letter stated.