Prime Minister Donates $2.5M to UTech, Jamaica for Students in Need

The Most Hon. Andrew Holness (2nd left) presents a cheque to Professor Stephen Vasciannie, CD, President, University  of Technology, Jamaica to assist students in need on Friday, November 22, 2019 at the University’s Papine Campus.  Applauding the gesture are Professor Colin Gyles, Deputy President and Mrs. Mercedes Deane, University Registrar.

Prime Minister and Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, ON, MP today (Friday, November 22, 2019) donated J$2.5 M to the University of Technology, Jamaica to assist students with greatest financial need,  particularly those at risk of being de-registered in their final year of study.The donation presented to University President, Professor Stephen Vasciannie comprised two cheques – one for $1.5 M from the JLP Education Fund and another for $1 million to the institution from the Prime Minister’s Positive Jamaica Foundation.Referencing recent reports in the media concerning extreme financial difficulties being faced by university students, the Prime Minister said that he was moved to reach out to the University of Technology, Jamaica to make a contribution to assist students who are experiencing financial difficulties.

Reflecting on the Party’s core belief in education, he explained that in this context the JLP in its 75th year has seen it fit to establish a scholarship programme to assist tertiary students who are in need, to realize their ambition to obtain tertiary education.  Since the launch of the fund five students have received full scholarships to cover all expenses related to their studies and six students received partial scholarships.  The Prime Minister also noted that the Jamaica Labour Party Education Fund has also issued 136 bursaries to workers of children or wards of workers of the Party.The Prime Minister noted that the resources left in this fund are being donated to the University to be used at its discretion based on verification of need.  Under the conditions of the donation, students who may be at risk of being deregistered may receive support in an amount outstanding that must not be greater than 60% of the total fees due for the current registration period. 

Students may also receive support with food, transport, books and other necessary living expenses.  No beneficiary should receive a grant exceeding JMD$150,000.  The Prime Minister also advised that students who benefit from the fund are required to “pay it forward” by engaging in a set number of hours of voluntary service to be determined by the University.  Students must also commit to contributing to the University’s “Student Assistance Fund” after they have graduated and are employed, to assist other students who need such a grant.  “The best way in paying back is to pay it forward,” the Prime Minister stated.

Noting the importance of the institution to national development, the Prime Minister stated  that “ UTech is a very important institution of the Government of Jamaica; we see this university as our national university”, adding that in our need to develop technical capacity, UTech, Jamaica plays an important role. Professor Vasciannie in expressing gratitude to the Prime Minister noted that the University continues to be mindful of the financial challenges faced by students and continue to seek ways of providing assistance through scholarships and grants, many of which are funded by the private sector.  “Despite this assistance, many of our students still find it very difficult and so we are grateful for the kind assistance offered to our students,” he said.


Prime Minister, The Most Hon. Andrew Holness (centre) shares lens time with members of the Students’ Union Executive, (from left) Kahlil Hutchinson, President, Winford Facey, 1st Vice President – Student Services, Angelica Dempster, President’s Advisor and Rovel Chambers, 1st Vice President, Academic Affairs.

Also in attendance at the scholarship presentation were Mr Paul Brissett, Chief Business and Finance Officer, Mr Hector Wheeler, Associate Vice President, Advancement, Dr. Kamilah Hylton, Dean, Faculty of Science and Sport, Mrs. Michelle Beckford, Corporate Communications Manager, members of the Jamaica Labour Party Scholarship Committee and members of the press.


Michelle Beckford (Mrs.)
Corporate Communications Manager
University of Technology, Jamaica
Telephone: 970-5299