THE EDITOR: It has been drawn to my attention by a delegation of students requesting my assistance that the Council for Legal Education, Hugh Wooding Law School, has imposed without notice increased fees for 2017/2018 for students repeating. The students only learned of the “economic costs” by letter on Tuesday.
TT students are now expected to pay $90,194.87 plus compulsory fees. Students previously paid $12,500 plus compulsory fees. They will now be paying the same fees as students from Dominica, Guyana, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and other common law jurisdictions, while students from Barbados and Grenada will be paying $18,038.97.
Registration was scheduled for the next day so this notice was alarming to all the affected students, who had no notice this measure was even being contemplated. Prior to Tuesday’s notice, a student was expected to pay $13,070. It is reasonable to assume they had a legitimate expectation that the fees would not have been changed a day before registration.
While the school provided the students with an opportunity to schedule payments mutually agreed upon, many did not anticipate this $100,000 commitment this year.
Given the economic challenges of the country there is no issue with bringing local costs in line with what other Caribbean countries pay. It is the incompetence of poor management of this issue that is questionable.
It should be noted that the Attorney General sits on the Council for Legal Education and as such the AG would have been aware of the impending changes.
Why then did he not so advise students in advance so that they could put appropriate measures in place? Instead students were ambushed with this whopping cost overnight.
When did the council make this decision and why were students only informed hours before the fees were to be paid? Surely the Attorney General could have advised students that the council was contemplating a change in fees so as to allow them to financially prepare for the change.
This is yet another instance of incompetence by an administration that seems to be bungling its way through office.
The Attorney General is being called upon by affected students to reconsider the imposition of this drastic measure, done without warning.