Money for A-Level students

Caymanian students enrolled in private school A-Level programmes can now receive more financial aid from the Government.

The financial assistance will be increased from $2,500 per year to 80 per cent of the annual tuition, which could amount to as much as $5,742 in aid.

The A-Level (short for Advanced Level) programmes allow students to attain a general certificate in education that is necessary for qualifying to attend some universities. The non-compulsory qualification is normally undertaken by students wanting to attend universities in the United Kingdom.

Education Minister Alden McLaughlin said last week that decision to increase financial assistance for students studying A-levels was made following a review by his ministry and consultation with the Education Council.

‘Enrolment statistics reveal that there is an increased demand for these qualifications,’ he said.

Demand has doubled, from 15 students to 30 students studying A-Levels at St. Ignatius over the last three years, and from seven students to 15 at Cayman Prep and High School over the past five years.

The costs to the students studying A-Levels have also increased.

‘In fact, these have effectively doubled at Saint Ignatius over the last eight years, rising to CI$7,178 per year,’ he said, noting that Cayman Prep’s fees for students in the A-Level programme is comparable at CI$6,550.

‘This has rendered the level of assistance currently provided by government to each Caymanian student, which stands at CI$2,500 per year, insufficient to support Caymanian students who wish to study for A-Level qualifications at these schools.’

Mr. McLaughlin said the increase in financial aid was in keeping with the government’s desire to assist Caymanian students in realising their educational goals.

The Government also made one key change in the policy concerning who qualifies for the financial assistance. Henceforth the aid applies to Caymanian students regardless if they attended government schools or private schools, provided they have attained the relevant passes in CXC or GCSE examinations.

‘Previously, students who had completed their high school education in private schools could not avail themselves of financial aid [to study A-Levels],’ Mr. McLaughlin said. ‘So that is a significant change.’

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