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Minister of Education Dr Nyan Gadsby- Dolly has announced drastic changes to the GATE Programme and a reduction in the number of national scholarships to be awarded.

At a news conference in Port-of-Spain, the minister announced that no more than 100 scholarships will be awarded and GATE funding will be provided for no more than one programme up to the undergraduate level. Funding for postgraduate programmes will be discontinued.

The changes are as follows:

SCHOLARSHIPS

° The Government of Trinidad and Tobago will offer a maximum of 100 scholarships

° No more than 10 (5 open and 5 additional) will be awarded in each of the 10 cognate groupings based on the performance of the top 10 students in the cognate group. The award of these scholarships will be based solely on academic achievement.

The ten (10) cognate groupings are:

° Business Studies

° Creative and Performing Studies

° Environmental Studies

° General Studies

° Humanities

° Information Communication and Technology Studies

° Language Studies

° Mathematics

° Natural Sciences

° Technical Studies

NATIONAL BURSARIES

° Students who have not been awarded a National Scholarship, and have attained at least 8 units at Grades I and II, over a period not exceeding 2 consecutive years in Form 6 are eligible to apply for a National Bursary.

° Students must show evidence of having been accepted to an accredited / recognised local tertiary level institution or a regional campus of the UWI.

° Applications for the National Bursary will be evaluated using the following criteria with attendant weightings:

– Intended course of study should be in alignment with priority areas of development (15%)

– Extracurricular activities / contribution to community / country (15%)

– Purpose statement (10%)

– Academic performance (30%)

– Need as evidenced by Means Test (30%)

° A Bursary will comprise the following:

° A book allowance of $9,711/$5,711 (medical studies – first time payment / annually) and $8,062/$4,062 (non-medical studies – first time payment / annually)

· A personal maintenance allowance of $3,043.00 per month

° 100% GATE funding for study at local institutions.

The amended National Scholarship and Bursary Programme will take effect immediately, based on the 2020 CAPE results. The expenditure to be incurred in respect of the scholarships and bursaries, is estimated at $57,193,005.00. Further details regarding the application process for the National Bursary will be provided at a later date.

GATE

The Government has reviewed the GATE Programme to ensure that the Programme is maintained within the budgetary allocation and that students who need it continue to receive assistance toward tuition fees at the post-secondary and tertiary levels.

The proposed revision to the GATE Policy is anticipated to have an expenditure of $TT 400Mn in fiscal 2021. Accordingly, the Government proposes that effective August 2020:

i. All applications for GATE funding will include a mandatory means test- failure to complete the means test will disqualify the application from being considered for GATE funding.

ii. where the household income is below $10,000 per month, students will be eligible for 100% GATE funding for tuition fees

iii. where the household income is above $10,000 per month but less than $30,000 per month, students will be eligible for 75% GATE funding for tuition fees

iv. where the household income is above $30,000 per month but less than $75,000 per month, students will be eligible for 50% GATE funding for tuition fees

v. where the household income is above $75,000 per month, students will be ineligible for GATE funding

With immediate effect:

a) funding under the GATE Programme will be provided for no more than one (1) programme up to the undergraduate level;

b) funding for postgraduate programmes will be discontinued

Citizens are asked to note that:

c) students currently enrolled in postgraduate programmes will receive GATE funding until August 2021.

d) students currently enrolled in undergraduate programmes will continue to be funded for the normal duration of the programme.

e) students enrolled in programmes at regional campuses of the University of the West Indies (UWI) that are offered at the UWI, St. Augustine campus, will be provided the equivalent level of funding at the St. Augustine campus.

f) students who are already in possession of undergraduate or postgraduate qualifications, regardless of whether or not they were beneficiaries of the GATE Programme, will not be able to access funding for any other programme.

g) the HELP Loan remains available for Tertiary students through the partnership of the Government with commercial banks.