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Nursing students in pain at Knox - College demands additional fees totalling $6.4 million after administrative error

Published:Friday | February 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMCarlene Davis
In this 2010 photo Kayon Stephenson-Wilson receives a hug from Antonia Richards, one of the students of Knox College, who collected her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree during the graduation ceremony at the UWI Mona campus.

Nursing students at the Knox Community College in Cobbla, Manchester, are livid, having been told by the administrators of the school that they will have to pay a total of $6.4 million in additional fees.

According to the students, they have been told that they will be barred from sitting exams come March if they have not paid up.

They say the issue started when they tried to access their transcript from the University of West Indies (UWI) website and were blocked.

The university is responsible for the programme which is offered through Knox, and the students were told that the college owes the UWI money for the franchise and need to clear the backlog.

"They told us it is not the college's fault. They said they were undercharging students the franchise fee but they were not aware that the school fees were increased by UWI," said one student.

"They are now saying that this money will have to be repaid by all students," added the nursing student who added that they are being asked to sign contracts agreeing to pay the increased amount.

She noted that while all the students are worried, the problem is compounded for those whose study is financed by the Students' Loan Bureau and whose loans have already been approved or disbursed.


No exam ban threat


But head of the Nursing Department at Knox, Lilieth Denton Smith, told The Sunday Gleaner that while the students have correctly said they will have to pay more than they were initially told, there has been no exam ban threat.

"I'm surprised. I'm really, really surprised that students would have gone with that because nobody told them that. I would really want to know who told them that they wouldn't be able to do exams and all that," said Smith.

"There is an issue because the fee was increased and the students were told of the increase with the fees, they were showed where the increase was, and that students who entered the programme at 'x' point would have to pay certain amounts in US dollars," added Smith.

She declined to comment on the claim that students are being asked to sign contracts agreeing to pay, instead pointing our news team to the vice-principal of students' affairs, Geraldine Barnes-Findlay, who was unavailable last week.

In the meantime, acting principal Kayon Stephenson-Wilson told The Sunday Gleaner that the situation was unfortunate but declined to respond to other questions.

Efforts to get a comment from the UWI were unsuccessful up to press time.