The Funding and Grants Administration Division of the Ministry of Education has approved Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE) funding for students who have completed their studies at the TT Hospitality and Tourism Institute (TTHTI). The hold-up was with the Ministry of Finance.
This is according to TTHTI students, who are now appealing to Minister of Finance Colm Imbert for an update on the status of their applications.
The students told Newsday yesterday that they visited the Funding and Grants Administration Division, where an investigating officer told them their matter was with the Ministry of Finance, which has to release the funds.
They went to the division in December after the TTHTI told them they would not be able to graduate or receive their certificates if their tuition fees were not paid by January 12. The graduation ceremony is set for January 25. Some students said they do not care about the graduation, but were concerned about not receiving their certificates for associate degrees, diplomas or bachelors degrees.
As of yesterday, they said, their graduation was still in limbo.A total of over 176 students in one group alone will not be able to graduate, the students said.
They noted that depending on the courses and programmes they had done, some who are due to graduate, owe as much as $24,000.
Meanwhile, continuing students also said they have not heard anything further from either the TTHTI or the Funding and Grants administration. The week before the Christmas holidays, the TTHTI gave the students a fee structure showing an increase in fees and with instructions to clear off what they owe. They are required to pay a percentage of the fees for the new semester, and were given deadlines by which to pay, failing which they will not be able to continue their studies.
One continuing student says she owes $16,000 and does not know where she will get the money in order to continue “the last lap” of her studies. Parents and students, she said, are now seeking a meeting with the Minister of Education to address the issue.
Newsday has been unable to contact any senior official of the school.