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Knox defends fee increase for nursing students - College says it advanced $6m to UWI

Published:Saturday | March 10, 2018 | 12:00 AM

The administration of Knox Community College has denied any wrongdoing in the controversy surrounding its demand for students enrolled in its Bachelor of Science Nursing (BScN) programme to pay an additional $6 million in fees.

In its first full statement on the imbroglio surrounding the nursing programme franchised from the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona campus, Knox said the students were long aware that they would have to pay the amount.

According to the administration, at the start of its BScN programme in 2006, the franchised fee charged by the UWI was US$250 per student per year.

"In late 2015, the UWI advised that the franchise fee per student for academic year 2015-16 would be increased to US$500, with a further increase to US$800 in 2016-17.

"Being sensitive to the significant level of increase in the franchise fees and the financial challenges of our student population, Knox Community College in June/July 2017 took the decision to assist our students by paying the sum of approximately $6 million for franchise fees to the UWI as an advance to be repaid," said the administrators.

"At the beginning of the academic year 2017-18, students in the nursing programme were again informed about the franchise fees to be paid to the UWI for the BScN programme. In January 2018, a further meeting was held with the nursing programme students, and following discussions recommendations were made regarding the payment required by each student in order to repay the amount advanced by Knox Community College on their behalf.

"The students were very receptive and expressed their appreciation and thanks to the administration for advancing the franchise fees, and indicated that they would be willing to repay the franchise fees over time as they understood more clearly the need for the funds to be recouped as early as possible," the administration added.

The college did not comment on claims by the students that they were being barred from examinations until the additional fees were paid, but said its administrators are willing to speak with students, guardians, and guarantors should there be need for further clarification on the issue.