To alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on students attending Northern Caribbean University in nearby Jamaica, an event aimed at raising some US$1 to 2 million for student scholarships will be launched on Sunday (May 24). Enrolled Cayman and Jamaica students are eligible to apply for scholarships.
The scholarship fund is an initiative of the NCU Alumni Federation that comprises chapters in the US, Canada, England and other European countries, Australian, and the Caribbean, including the Cayman Islands.
The scholarship fund, which is hoped to enable the university to resume following Jamaica’s reopening, was initiated by the Alumni Federation on the basis of a student survey. The survey showed that some 60 to 85% of NCU students are uncertain about their educational future because of the economic impact of COVID-19 on them and their families.
The private university, owned by the Adventist Church in the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, the Turks and Caicos, and the Bahamas, has just announced a ten percent cut in faculty salaries. See link to a post by the Jamaica Observer (https://m.facebook.com/95746458800/posts/10158066324018801/?sfnsn=mo
“Many NCU students earn their tuition for upcoming academic years from summer jobs in Jamaica, the US, Canada, and the Cayman Islands,” said Federation President Harry Clayton, speaking this morning on a Cayman radio telephone interview from his Miami base. “In addition, because of Covid-19 and all the necessary lockdowns in Jamaica and elsewhere, many families are in economic crisis and are unable to support continuity of their adult children’s education.”
The emergency fundraising drive, to be launched at Sunday’s Mediathon, will run until July 31. The Federation plans further short- and longer-term fundraising initiatives to establishing an endowment to ensure the sustainability of NCU student scholarships and infrastructural and capital development over the next ten years. The Alumni Federation will administer all funds.
The event will be streamed live on Cayman’s Praise 87.9 radio station and facebook, and via NCU social media platforms and broadcast on NCU FM and TV.
In welcoming the Mediathon, NCU President Dr Lincoln Edwards said it was a “worthwhile gesture as many students who have started their journey to achieve higher education are faced with financial challenges aggravated by the economic
fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.” The university president commended the NCU Alumini Federation for spearheading this effort to establish the NCU COVID-19 Scholarship Fund.
Persons in Cayman wishing to make donations may do so via the local Chapter’s Butterfield Bank account, “NCU Cayman Alumni Association” (#1361610170014), or via the Federation’s website, www.NCUAlumniFederation.com.
Persons making contributions via the Cayman Chapter’s Butterfield account should note payee reference of “NCU Scholarship Fund” to enable tracking of donations. Donations may be made to the emergency fund until July 31. In addition, persons may wish to make monthly standing orders for deposit to the “NCU Cayman Alumni Association” Butterfield Bank account.
During the mediathon, donors also will be able to make pledges via telephone at the following numbers: 754 227 9269; 876 963 7716/7.
“I am appealing to all alumni and friends of West Indies College and Northern Caribbean University to join this effort to ensure that students of our beloved institution will be able to continue to pursue their dream of securing higher education in a Christ-centred environment,” said Federation President Clayton.
Meanwhile, Arnold Kelly, general manager of the NCU Media Group, media sponsors of the event, said Sunday’s programme will showcase a galaxy of performing artistes, most of whom are alumni of the institution. These include Carey Sales, Courtney Fadlin, Basil Been, Denice Shepherd, and Petal Richards-Chambers among many others. Cayman will be represented by the popular local group the Williams Quartet, who were recently joined by the siblings’ younger brother. The group made a special recording for the event.
Kelly, along with Norman “Sabu” Grant, will co-host the afternoon show which will also include recorded performances of NCU choirs.
The event is being endorsed by a number of local alumni, of which a large cohort service in the medical and education fields, among other areas. Two legislators are also expected to endorse both NCU and the fundraising event.
A number of persons in the Cayman Islands are enrolled at NCU; those wishing to apply for funding from to the Federation should email NCUCaymanAlumni@gmail.com.