GREGG KURBANALI started at St George's University (SGU), Grenada, in August 2018. But now he is back home – with four more years of medical school to go.
The cost of tuition each semester is US$40,000, and with two semesters for the next four years, the situation is now posing a serious challenge to him and his mother, a single parent.
Kurbanali, 24, who began his schooling at St Monica's Preparatory Primary School, then St Mary's College, Port of Spain, said: “I grew up with my mother and my three siblings. Times were a bit difficult while growing up as my father did not live with us and my mother had to take care of us all at once. So financially things have always been a bit of a struggle.”
He said though his father would help out here and there, the majority of the responsibility fell on his mother.
Since the divorce of his parents, his mother, Marilyn Hospedales, with whom he lives in Diego Martin, gets income from odd transport jobs, a small rental and a pension.
She said when her son applied to the University of the West Indies St Augustine campus, he was not accepted because he didn't have a pass in physics, which is one of the requirements for the medical programme there. So his next option was SGU, which accepted his application.
She said the letter of acceptance only gave the cost of the first year, of US$19,000. She and Gregg's father were able to raise that amount. But Hospedales said she is now faced with a tab of US$35,000 for each of the next eight semesters, amounting to US$280,000.
Hospedales said when her son returns to Grenada he will live off campus for cheaper accommodation, which she is paying, but it is almost impossible to raise the tuition fees.
She lamented: "If he doesn't get assistance, he won't be able to continue at SGC, which will be most unfortunate."
Kurbanali said: “I have always tried my hardest in school, especially since I have always struggled with ADHD and dyslexia. I have never let that bring me down and I have always worked towards my goal of becoming a doctor.”
He added: “I always knew I wanted to do medicine. Since I was a child I have always been fascinated with the human body and have always wanted to use my skills in medicine to help people. I always knew this is what I wanted my goal in life to be.”
Kurbanali says he really loves St George's and learning medicine there.
“The knowledge that I have gained here is very fascinating and I just want to strive to become a great doctor. Ultimately, my goal is to become a neurosurgeon. My passion in medicine has always been neurology. Even now, I always excel in neurology courses, more than my other ones. I would love to continue attending this school, but financially it is a bit difficult for me.”
Kurbanali is asking the public and the corporate world for financial assistance to see him through university.
In return he has promised to return to TT and provide medical service to the country.