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Two weeks ago, the University of the West Indies (UWI) Guild of Students threatened to protest if GATE officials did not pull up their socks and have the outstanding applications processed on time for students to be able to resume classes in the new semester. However, three weeks into the semester many students still have not been given the required clearances from the university due to holds on their accounts arising from pending GATE application approvals.

In an interview with Guardian Media, acting president of the Guild Teshanna Mohammed indicated that the council would decide on the next step when registration ends later this week.

“Protest is always our last resort and February 7 is about a week away. We would like to give GATE office the benefit of the doubt to ensure that applications are processed.”

However, she did not rule out the option.

“We as a Guild would always stand with our students and we’ll take whatever necessary action is needed,” she said.

While she said there were still instances of outstanding applications, she indicated that she was not in the position to give an exact figure of the students affected.

On January 15, Guild president Justin Subero described the situation as “chaot­ic and mass con­fu­sion” to Guardian Media. He also said stu­dents have been in a state of “pan­ic and wor­ry” be­cause they are un­able to reg­is­ter for their cours­es. Many of them are fi­nal year stu­dents.

He also said if the issue wasn’t rectified by January 20 when classes resumed, they would take protest action.

However, the Head of the Fund­ing and Grants Ad­min­is­tra­tion Di­vi­sion, which is charged with the re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for the man­age­ment of the Gov­ern­ment As­sis­tance for Tu­ition Ex­pens­es Pro­gramme (GATE) un­der the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion subsequently the Guild and UWI, said that it is work­ing to com­plete out­stand­ing ap­pli­ca­tions from stu­dents.

In a release, the ministry ex­plained the de­lays in the pro­cess­ing of GATE ap­pli­ca­tion were as a result of the pro­vi­sion of stale-dat­ed fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion, omis­sions in house­hold in­come and sub­mis­sion of in­cor­rect doc­u­ments as proof of in­come and staff con­straints.