BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday October 29, 2015 – The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Board of Directors has approved US$7.75 million in financing to improve access to tertiary education in Barbados and to strengthen the business operations of the country’s Student Revolving Loan Fund (SRLF).
The loan will assist the SRLF, the principal source of student loan financing in Barbados, in providing tertiary education loans for new and continuing students.
Included in the loan is provision for the financing of consulting services to carry out a review of the operations of SRLF to improve the Fund’s sustainability and help facilitate the efficient delivery of student loans and related services.
“This financing helps give Barbadians, especially those most in need, a better chance of successfully completing tertiary education. Providing access to affordable higher education financing will help Barbados develop a skilled, well-trained workforce equipped to boost the island’s competitiveness and contribute to sustainable economic growth,” said Andrew Dupigny, Director of Projects (acting), CDB.
The approval of the CDB financing comes amid declining enrolment rates at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus.
The loan provides funding that aims to enhance the operations of SRLF and improve its long-term sustainability. The financing will support a consultancy to determine what actions are necessary to manage the expected growth in demand for SRLF resources. The Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation will also help fund the consultancy.
Through the financing provided by CDB, it is estimated that by 2019, at least 675 student loans will have been issued; that the financing will have produced at least 160 graduates; and that a plan for enhancing the effectiveness and sustainability of SRLF will have been completed.
The project aligns with the priorities of the Government of Barbados and fits within its Growth and Development Strategy 2013-2020. It aligns with CDB’s Education and Training Policy Strategy objectives, by increasing and broadening access to education, and by improving efficiency and effectiveness in the provision of financing for tertiary-level education.