Ray of hope for needy students of The Mico University College
Several needy students of The Mico University College (Mico) are now breathing easier after the institution received $1.5 million to help them with their tuition fees going into the new school year.
The money was donated by the the Mico Old Students' Association (MOSA) as part of its efforts to help students who are facing financial challenges.
President of MOSA Dr Merrit Henry said the donation was the first instalment of a two-part COVID-19 relief fund for the university.
According to Henry, MOSA is committed to continuing the fund-raising to assist students who are in need of financial help.
“Students' needs are great and we have chosen July to make the presentation, because many students are on the list who needs to be released so that they can continue their education,” said Henry.
“We have pledged to continue the fund-raising [which] continues until about the third week of September,” added Henry.
She said there were initial doubts because many of the alumni were in areas deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic but they banded together to go the extra mile to help their alma mater.
In the meantime, president of Mico Dr Auburn Pinnock said the donation will go a far way in assisting students with their financial challenges.
He noted that the university had postponed the payment of last semester fees until the end of July, but said it could not continue on that path.
“The donation means everything. It will assist those who are not able to pay off the fees that they have existing from last semester. We have suspended the payment of fees until the end of this month. So persons are now trying to find new ways to pay their fees for last semester. Also, to return next semester, they are required to pay fees,” Pinnock told the Jamaica Observer.
He indicated that two major challenges the students faced with navigating online schooling during the shutdown of face-to-face classes at the height of the pandemic were access to the Internet and the necessary equipment.
Pinnock said the grant will also be used to ease these challenges for students.
“It will also assist them by providing them with some gadgets,” Pinnock said.
The Mico president explained that beneficiaries of the grant will come from a list compiled, based on information gathered on students from the previous semester.
“We have been collecting data from last semester of persons who had difficulty to log on and do work. Those are the ones that we are targeting first. We also have an existing roster of persons who, through the Student Services, we know are needy students. We are also trying to assist those persons,” added Pinnock.
Both Henry and Pinnock used the occasion to reach out to Jamaicans for assistance, with the second donation expected in September.
They argued that it is important for the wider community to assist these students during this challenging time.
The good news for Mico students came hours before it was announced that scores of students of The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, will be facing higher fees in the new school year, despite a promise from the leadership of the university that it would not be increasing tuition fees.
Jamaican students whose programme fees are quoted in United States (US) dollars will be asked to pay more as The UWI has increased the exchange rate it uses to calculate fees which are set in that currency.
The university has increased its exchange rate from $135 to $141.
Most students affected hail from the faculties of law, medical sciences and engineering.
With the change nursing students will pay $30,000 more for their tuition fees.
Law, engineering and pharmacy students will pay $60,000 more, while students studying medicine, surgery and dentistry will see their tuition fees increase by $168,000. Animation and film studies students will see an increase of $39,000 and $45,000 respectively.
To assist with the Mico COVID-19 Relief Fund, donations can be made to the Mico Foundation's National Commercial Bank (NCB) account: NCB Duke Street, account number 062323299. Also, donations can be made online via the Mico Foundation website through the direct link: themicofoundationja.com/donate