July 6, 2020
For Immediate Release
The University’s Response to Comments Relating to Tuition for 20/21 – Any Approved Increases Stopped and Fees Will Be Reduced by 25% so as to Support Our Students and Parents
The Board of Trustees of the University of Belize and its Administration are aware that a student or group of students have been circulating an erroneous post on Facebook suggesting that the University plans to increase tuition and fees for all students in August 2020. The Board of Trustees and the Administration take this opportunity to respond to this inaccurate and potentially damaging expression of concern and notify all its students of the truth related to the university’s plans to protect them from the full impact of the COVID19 pandemic.
Since March 20, 2020 when the University unexpectedly had to close its campuses to protect its students, staff and faculty from the possible impacts of the spreading pandemic, the University’s leadership has been focused on ensuring that our teaching and learning has been preserved for the benefit of our students. We thank our faculty, staff and students, that with all the sacrifices made through innovation and creativity we are coming to the end of the academic year. I thank them all for their sacrifices. The University’s leadership, recognizing what was staring us in the face has been researching, analyzing and planning to mitigate the anticipated financial impact of COVID19 on the dwindling global and national economies. Our planning had to be intensified with the announcement by the Government of Belize (GOB) in May 2020 that the subventions to statutory organizations like the UB was going to be severely cut. We can confirm that our subvention has been reduced by 25%. The University’s leadership has studied all of its income streams and the trends of student payments of their tuition and fees over the past three years against the backdrop of the shrinking Belizean economy and the details of loss of income as those figures emerged. The President met with and informed all members of the University community in an historic online meeting – one that included the three student government presidents, the student representative on the Board of Trustees, faculty and staff – of the full financial impact of the shrunken Belizean economy and on the University of Belize. In this meeting all student leaders were informed of the fact that the University is facing a devastating cut in both its income streams with a total shortfall of 7.16 million dollars that included a provision for reduced income from student tuition and fees. The President made it clear that he would consult all and then prepare a proposal to take to the Board of Trustees for their approval. He stressed that the proposal must ensure the sustainability of the University post COVID19. At that early stage of development of a response, the President shared his intention to minimize the impact on students’ financial obligations to the University. He expressed his intent to put the pre-approved tuition increase for 2021 on hold and revert tuition to the 2019 rate while simultaneously cutting student fees by 25%. He also engaged the Development Finance Cooperation (DFC) to seek more attractive student loans for students who have the smallest incomes at this time. Incoming students have been offered details of the new Special Education Loans at DFC and information on the loans are being posted on the University’s Facebook page and website. In a second meeting held with key University leaders and the student government presidents, the President entertained a suggestion by one of the Student Government Presidents to reduce the amount of tuition and fees that students must pay at the start of next semester during registration. The President indicated that he is recommending to the Department of Finance that this amount be reduced from 40% to 25%.
Students, these are the facts that clarify that there will be no tuition or fee increase for students in August 2020 and there was never any such plan post COVID19. These facts are also shared to inform all students that the University continues to meet with all of its constituents to share information and to seek their guidance on how we treat with the financial challenges we currently face. The President would like all students to realize that they, and our teaching and learning functions remain the center of the University and as such they are at the core of all our thinking to guide the University of Belize out of this current financial challenge. Kindly join the holistic efforts of the University to be responsive, responsible, equitable and innovative in addressing the challenges we face as an institution. Any suggestions or recommendations, please engage the Administration directly via our email established for this purpose: [email protected] Let’s work together to make UB stronger.
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