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UG’s Student Loans will be available before new academic year starts

In the face of a warning that the University of Guyana (UG) would have to shut down operations if the Ministry of Finance does not disburse money for student loans, President Donald Ramotar on Friday assured that the issue would be resolved before the new academic year begins.

“The matter will be resolved before the next two weeks,” he told a news conference when pressed on whether Cabinet would complete its consideration of the matter.

The 2014-2015 academic year begins on August 25, 2014.

Ramotar said government has to look at additional sources of funds to cater for the increases in tuition fees that have been approved by the university’s Council. “We will resolve it in time for the new academic year” he said, adding that “the main thing is that we are not going to allow the students to suffer unnecessarily.”

UG Vice Chancellor, Professor Jacob Opadeyi earlier this week warned at an hurriedly called news conference that that tertiary institution might be forced to close for three or six months because there would be little or no money to pay lecturers to teach courses.

Opadeyi said UG was also saddled with millions of dollars of expenses for utilities and security. Latest figures show that its debt is about GUY$450 million.

Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh has said that monies for the Student Loan Scheme were now insufficient because of the increased tuition fees.

The cost of tuition from the 2014-2015 academic year has moved from GUY$127,000 per academic year to GUY$160,000 for new students and GUY$130,000 for continuing students. The Miscellaneous Fee has been replaced by a Facilities Fee of GUY$50,000 per academic year.