UWI not pricing students out of boarding, says campus registrar
Students at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, are not being priced out of boarding, says Campus Registrar Dr Camille Bell-Hutchinson.
She was making reference to the new student dormitories, which are more costly than the traditional halls for which the university is famous - Chancellor, Taylor, Seacole - and of a later vintage, the Aston Preston and Rex Nettleford halls.
"I think we have to look at what we offer the students in context. In the past, you had to walk down the corridor in the middle of the night on Seacole Hall to go get a shower, and you run back up. The fact is you had a bed," Bell-Hutchinson said.
The new dormitories offer each resident far more personal space and privacy but also carry with them hefty boarding fees.
Bell-Hutchinson told a Gleaner Editors' Forum yesterday that the cost for boarding on the new halls ranged from $25,000 a month for the Irvine (double) and $30,000 for the Irvine (single), while the Leslie Robinson (single) is $51,000 per month. George Alleyne is also $51,000 per month for the single and $29,000 for the double.
"What we are saying is that what those persons are getting is like a private suite. They have private bathrooms and private showers. They are, basically, on their own in an apartment. This is nothing like what we had back in the time when we were students at the UWI," she stated.
"It is a heavy cost just to meet the infrastructure [demands] and to maintain the halls. It also involves opportunities to be in clubs and societies. They have their own internal cultural activities, which are done by the student services, so the hall fees come with an accommodation cost, but they also have a lot of other amenities and activities built into it as benefits of being on a hall," said Bell-Hutchinson.
She pointed out that because of the level of privacy and personal space allowed for in the new dorms, many students have opted to leave the traditional halls for the newer ones.
UWI Principal Professor Dale Webber reiterated the university's position - that it was not into the business of pricing students out of its hall - stating that at the least, boarding was now in line with what obtained generally in residential areas around the campus.