Basseterre, St. Kitts (September 6, 2016) — A senior official of the Federation’s premier educational institution, the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC), has said the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis (DBSKN) supports the development goals of the country in the way of educational advancement.
CFBC’s Vice President for Finance and Administration, Mrs Jackie Williams, stated that prior to the College’s opening on Monday August 29 a week-long of activities was held to orientate the new students along with their parents. The Development Bank was invited to give a presentation during the orientation seminar with the parents on Thursday August 25.
In a post seminar interview, Mrs Williams said that since some students do face difficulties at times paying their fees, albeit the fees at CFBC are relatively very low, the College was therefore seeking to provide students and their parents with information on student loans. The College was looking at the more development friendly institutions, such as the Development Bank, to make a presentation at the parents’ session of the Orientation programme.
“We started with the Development Bank because we know Development Bank supports the development goals of the country and our people in the way of educational advancement because they are very strong in student loans,” said Mrs Williams. “So it was a natural idea to invite Development Bank.”
The Vice President for Finance and Administration observed that some of their students, especially in the Teaching and Nursing Departments, are adults and some with families and related commitments and are often interested in getting assistance just to pay their fees. Also included in this category are those in the Adult Continuing (AC) Education who come in the evening
“We would have sent students to the Development Bank to seek assistance,” said Mrs Williams. “There are some students in the Adult Continuing (AC) Education and some of them are working and their salaries may not be that high plus they have children and so it is an investment they are trying to help themselves to improve their own potential later down the road. So if it is that they are struggling we sometimes suggest may be they go and have a talk with one of the lending institutions.”
Representing the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis was Marketing Officer, Ms Vernitha Maynard, who used a PowerPoint presentation to advise the parents what the Bank offers in the area of student loans, and new innovations that have been made recently to make the process of disbursing student loans more customer-friendly.
Ms Maynard was accompanied by Mr Odenn Blanchette, a summer intern at the bank who assisted with the PowerPoint presentation. She told the parents that while the maximum amount for student loans is US$35,000 for university students, smaller packages are available for students attending the CFBC, also at nine per cent per annum on reducing balance, adding that when the loan amount is less than US$10,000 only one guarantor is needed.
Among the points Ms Maynard put across to the attentive parents included the deferment of loan repayment when a student opts to proceed on with further education after their first degree, or those who are not able to immediately find jobs once through with education and are not able to meet their obligations with the Bank.
“In some instances some students may decide to go on and do their Masters after they have pursued their first degree, without coming back to the Federation,” said Ms Maynard.
“In order for them to get more money, or for the loan not to go into arrears, we must get a letter stating that you are continuing school and you wish to defer your first repayment date otherwise the loan is going to automatically go into arrears because there is a first repayment date set in the system. We won’t know unless we are told.”
She advised that if a student is through with their education and they are not able to get a job, or have a job that is not paying very well, that they need to speak to a Credit Risk Officer at the Bank who would reschedule their payments in accordance with what they can afford.
The orientation programme was organised by the Director of Student Affairs Ms Samantha Fox, and among the CFBC staff who also addressed the parents of new students included Ms Brenda Caesar (Bursar), Mrs Gaile Grey-Phillip (Dean, Arts Science, General Studies), Mr Andrew Abraham (Dean, Technical, Vocational Education and Management Students), Dr Hughon James (Counsellor), and Ms Selma Broadbelt (Administrative Assistant, Adult Continuing Education).