College scholarships to be means tested

| 16/08/2018 | 109 Comments
Cayman News Service

Dan Scott

(CNS): Recommendations that the Cayman Islands Education Council made to the Ministry of Education to introduce means testing for scholarships have been adopted, paving the way for resources to be concentrated where they are really needed, according to the council’s chairman, Dan Scott. The test will be for high income families only, but having free and full government scholarships going to all Caymanian students is not fair or sustainable, according to Scott, who said the council had spent a considerable time examining this issue and had concluded a means test was required.

Scott told CNS that this would only apply to those that could afford it. Given the limited resources of the public sector, it was not right that any student, regardless of the wealth of their families, could apply and receive the study grant, he explained. With means testing, the money would be diverted to those whose families do not already have the means to send their children to college without financial support.

In addition to the multitude of scholarships offered by the private sector and non-governmental organisations, the education ministry offers up to $25,000 per year for all Caymanian students who meet the academical requirements. Scott described the ministry scholarship as quite generous, but he said it should not be going to those whose parents are considered wealthy.

“My children should not be getting these scholarships,” the managing partner at global financial firm Ernst & Young said, by way of example.

“We will be pitching the means test quite high …I don’t think  anyone will feel that ordinary families won’t still have access to scholarships,” he said. “But I feel people who have the ability to pay should contribute, then we can redirect resources to where they are really needed.”

The formal announcement about the change in policy, with the details of how the new means test will work, will be outlined by government officials soon, Scott said, stressing that it will only apply to households with high incomes.

The move to introduce means testing is just one policy recommendation by the Education Council, with many more to come, having spent the last year examining the array of fundamental problems undermining standards of achievement among local students. Scott told CNS that a “revolution” is required and the council has identified some of the priority areas to be addressed.

Scott said that the national curriculum should be revised and adapted to meet Cayman’s own needs, as it is currently based on a mishmash of systems and not fit for purpose. He said it was time to ensure there is a curriculum that is not just appropriate for the Cayman Islands “but is based on international standards”, because Cayman children need to compete on the global stage with students from the world’s leading economies when they graduate.

Illustrating the importance of improving standards, Scott said, “All we have is human capital.”

He said the lack of basic resources, such as text books, was troubling, and the council will be making recommendations about all of the issues that will help teachers do their jobs. But rather than directing the ministry on the details, the council’s role is to make recommendations on how the big problems can be resolved.

One of those big issues is the current segregation of expatriate and local students and the problems of capacity. “There is no argument that we already need more places in schools,” Scott said. Asked if he believed the school population should be integrated, with expat children and Caymanians learning together, he said, “Absolutely, yes,” adding, “Our children need a broader cultural experience.”

Having benefited from the old system, when local students sat side by side with children of parents from overseas, which led to much more integration in his generation, Scott embraces that concept. But he said that compared to when he was in school in the 1970’s, there is a capacity problem and integrating children will need a different approach.

Scott believes the private sector may be best placed to handle that, with government financing placements in private schools, because of the limited capacity of the public school system to offer places for all children of work permit holders.

The council chair said that encouraging private schools to expand and create new facilities, on the basis of guarantees from government about numbers, would reduce the burden on the public purse to provide the actual plant. He said he envisioned government financing local students to attend independent schools, but he said this would mean private schools would not be able to cherry pick.

Scott and his fellow council members are being seen across the community as having a pivotal role in addressing what appears to have become systemic problems in education, and they have attracted support from both sides of the political aisle on this significant public interest matter.

Whether they will in the end be anymore successful that other promised revolutions in education remains to be seen. But it is evident that the chair is well aware of the challenges and is committed to offering solutions.

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Category: Education, Local News

Comments (109)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The only way this will ever have a shot at being fair is if this is outsourced to an overseas company (just like many Canadian, American and European schools do regarding financial aid and scholarship means testing) so that it is well outside the reach of any local influence by politicians or high ranking civil servants.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    4:31pm – Thanks for correcting me regarding the PWD apprenticeship programme, I wasn’t aware and truly out of touch on that matter. Thanks also for not insulting me.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman Islands, should institute a Territorial Duty Waiver Rebate for up to 25-30% of the value of all Official Charitable Donations to local registered charities upon application with a qualifying official receipt (or catalogue of receipts) that can be audited under our new regime. This would be the equivalent to the tax deductions that are received by philanthropic private taxpayer donors in other places. We need to encourage a more generous culture of giving by corporations and individuals and stimulate the safety net for Caymanians – otherwise covered out of public funds, or absent due to non-existent social assistance programs. Scholarships too.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is all well meaning, but they didn’t consider one important factor. Most college aged students are over 18 years old, which means they are ‘adults’. Their families are no longer responsible for them financially. So, even if the family members are millionaires, if they choose not to fund the student’s college education, that is their prerogative and the student is left in limbo. They’re 18 years old, and even if they have a 4.0 GPA, they have no money to pursue a higher education.

    The committee needs to consider this, and apply their ‘means testing’ requirement to children under 18 years only.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Millionaires kids shouldn’t get scholarships. But if I make under 200k a year, my kids should still be considered.

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    • No state citizen says:

      In fact, what Cayman needs is a better organized student loans program and not give so many scholarships to all these entitled children who believe that that Government is obligated to give them scholarships.

      I figure I will get a lot of thumbs down, mostly from locals, who have grown up with an entitled attitude and really don’t appreciate that the Government here is doing what no one else in the world does by giving so many scholarships.

      Scholarships are usually given by the Universities themselves and in most Caribbean islands are few and extremely competitive.

      If you don’t have a wealthy parent, students usually get student loans!

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, and that’s why there are so many low income people in the US. Student loans are dragging them down. The scholarship from government barely covers most universities. My sons had to get loans. I taught my sons to be independent and responsible so this is not a problem for my family. Both of my sons paid their school loans themselves and I have my house as collateral. Not all families would have that so it would hinder them from attending college.

      • Hypatia says:

        Clearly you don’t read world news and know the epidemic in America with student loans? Recent graduates can barely afford to eat because they are paying off their absurd student loans.

        People complain about the Government not doing enough for their children, but I know for a fact, had Government not give out scholarships to those who qualify, I would never be able to receive a college education unless I wanted to live in debt.

        What the Government is doing regarding high income families is an extremely smart idea and I applaud them. Keep it up Mr. Scott.

        • No State Citizen says:

          Clearly you have never gone through the process of having a student loan as I have Miss /Mister know-it -all!

          There are many people in this world who do not qualify for a scholarship or even a student loan but they still find a way to get an education, i.e. working and going part time to school so get off your high horse.

          Where is a will there is always a way!

  5. Right ya so says:

    Finally!

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Great idea. But can the first test be that 3rd generation and older Caymanians are only eligible? Sorry, but the idea that children of someone who has received status, can be funded a full scholarship, does not sit well with me. Let them prove that their ties are strong to the island. In many cases, the children of status holders, will not necessarily make Cayman their permanent home.

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    • Keen observer says:

      Really?!! Cant believe you actually posted this.

      Whether the person got status last month or 16 years ago is irrelevant!

      They went through an application process (an expensive one I might add), received Cayman status but yet you still want distinguish “old Caymanian” vs. “new Caymanian”?
      What is wrong with you?

      If you do not want people to get Caymanian status then put something in place where they cant get it but don’t give it to them but then tell them they can’t get all the benefits of being Caymanian because they are not a ” real Caymanian”

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    • Anonymous says:

      Could your contribution be any more divisive and stupid?

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    • Anonymous says:

      At what point does someone become a real caymanian? Why have you chosen third generation? Why not fourth generation? Surely if second generation is not long enoough than third generation can’t be the pivotal moment when your family suddenly becomes real caymanians? Does this logic apply to every country then in your opinion? So immigrants to the states who acquire US citizenship are not real Americans? So the Cuban families that moved to Miami during the Mariel boat lift in 1980 and have received US citizenship then their children now who were born and raised in the US, are not entitled to US social programmes because they are not American enough… they must wait for the next generation to prove their “Americanness”? I’ve used the US as a comparison to highlight the unfairness and prejudice in your comment. If you can come up with a good factual reason why third generation caymanians suddenly become caymanian enough to deserve government aid then please enlighten me.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Related to this subject is that of apprenticeships. There are many bright young children who may not receive university or college acceptance, thus who would not qualify for a scholarship. Also, many who are adept in vocational skills and may not be academically inclined or prepared to pursue tertiary education. It is for these kinds of children/young adults that apprenticeship programs are suitable. Yet only one single company to my knowledge – Superior Auto – has created an apprenticeship program. While Government continues to fumble over creating a good vocational program (UCCI has recently implemented such a program – the success thereof is still pending), more companies should implement apprenticeships – and so should Government departments such as DEH, NRA, PWD!! Summer internships are NOT apprenticeships!

    Shame on all concerned for the failures and great kudos and appreciation to Superior Auto for doing the right thing!

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    • annonymous says:

      If a child is bright they will get a college or university acceptance; so no issue there.

      I hear you regarding the vocational and skills and that some may not be academically inclined or prepared to pursue tertiary education.

      There are options for all you mentioned they just need to get their finger out and be proactive.

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    • Anonymous says:

      10:56 who are so out of touch. PWD has the best internship in the Cayman islands. At least a dozen young caymanians are working, receiving a stiped and learning plumbing AC electricial and construction. That’s world class.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I agree with this proposal and Mr. Scott’s sentiments!

    My wife and I are retired civil servants living on modest pensions (in my case) and less than the recently increased minimum (in my wife’s case – she won’t qualify for another 9 years!). Our son attended university overseas and we paid all expenses for the first year. Thereafter he received a Government scholarship (for tuition only) for the next two years and we covered all costs for his final year. He graduated with first class honours and has found work in the private sector. His attempt for assistance for employment placement within Government, to which he felt he owed allegiance, was met with a referral to WORC, which isn’t administratively active as yet. So was he to wait around doing nothing until they found him a job? No!

    During his college years we became familiar with other families whose children received Government scholarships – families who live in gated communities and are high-earning professionals. In any case, all their children did well and have returned to contribute to Cayman but none returned to jobs with Government, for the same reason our son experienced.

    So, what is the purpose of giving Government scholarships with public funds if the Civil Service or public Authorities aren’t receiving the direct benefit of scholarship recipients? God knows, the public service can use all the professional ability it can get! Yet, successful young Caymanians are left to “forage” for jobs in the private sector. Ultimately, we’ll continue to have a strong, successful private sector and a continually failing public service. How will that work out for us?

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    • Keen observer says:

      I agree with your point about contributing to your child’s education but in regards to jobs, the Civil Service is already huge and they can’t accommodate every graduate that returns so they changed the rules several years ago that students did not have to work for the Government but they had to return and work in the Cayman Islands.

      Who is monitoring this “working in the Cayman Islands” requirement?
      Scholarship secretariat doesn’t have a clue where many students are after graduation.

      Also if a student has attempted unsuccessfully to find a job in their own country but can find work elsewhere, what does the Government expect? The student to sit around doing nothing until they find a job?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Anonymous 10.32 17/03/2018.
      I disagree that all recipients of Government scholarships should get some kind of preference for Government jobs. However they should be required to work in these islands for a minimum of 5 years. The Government should also be providing scholarships for academically inclined students, whether they live in gated communities, at the Ritz Carlton or in some lesser place of abode.

      There must be scholarships available to local children that will motivate them to excel academically.

      However regular scholarships must be means tested. Strict guidelines will have to be followed or this will create considerable controversy. Some parents with 16 and 17 year old children sometimes have lots of obligations and how do you make an assessment of how much they can afford will be very subjective.

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      • Anonymous says:

        There is a system in place already that if a child recieves a scholarship, they have to work on island for four years after graduation. It doesn’t stipluate that they have to work in the public sector.

        I was a recipient many years ago and after graduating from college i went to work in the private sector.

        However I also heard that nowadays the recipient can ‘defer’ coming back to Cayman to work off the scholarship. I think this is something the Ministry needs to look at. If it is absolutly necessary because one can prove that they can’t get a job its different but some boundaries need to be put in place.

  9. Anonymous says:

    It would also help if a broad spectrum of the private sector would offer scholarship or would offer scholarships who are not linked to a specific field. Not everyone wants to be a lawyer, accountant or banker.

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    • Anonymous says:

      But they are offering so they can get recruits possibly. How do you not get that?

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    • Anonymous says:

      IMAC does that and not all its members like that the scholarships are not related…we need more talented Caymanians in the business.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I would like to know whether the Government scholarship still requires one to return to the Cayman Islands and work for a number of years locally and how this is/has been monitored?

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  11. Anon says:

    Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s I remember scolarships going to kids with well off parents and to those who had parents/family working for the Immigration Dept or in political roles. It was a disgrace to see such behaviour from firms within the financial services. Having said that my father could have paid my way but refused. My mother was in no position to assist. Several of those firms could not be bothered with the poorer kids. Its all about back scratching…then and now…but it should be about talent, potential AND NEED.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    There should be a number of Scholarships granted every year, not means tested but merit based. Brightest [X] number of students as determined by the relevant council should get them and they should be for any programme of study which results in an accredited and internationally recognised bachelors, masters or doctorates (allocations for each – with bachelors having by far the highest number of scholarships, then masters and a couple for doctorates). High level of competition to get them.

    There should then be a larger number of means tested bursaries which are only available for bachelors degrees. These do not require the highest levels of academic achievement but should be subject to certain minimum standards (ie the standard required to get into a reputable university and onto an accredited bachelors programme internationally). These are not available to students of “high income families”, perhaps unless the student can prove to the satisfaction of the council that they have been emancipated from their parents or are otherwise unable to rely on their parents (i.e. there should be a rebuttable presumption that parents will send their kids to school if they can afford it unless the student can prove irreconcilable differences, etc. (there should be a test for this – no idea how you would formulate it)) for one reason or another. That last bit is important. Deserving students from wealthy families can be prevented from going abroad to study if their parents genuinely refuse to send them. That state of affairs shouldn’t prejudice the child’s chances of being educated. It simply would represent another facet of a comprehensive means test.

    For either of these, there should be a requirement to return to Cayman and work one year for every year funded by CIG (requirement to return within 4 years of the completion of the degree to the Cayman Islands to start this time unless further study is being undertaken and then within four years of the end of that programme.)

    The formulation of the means test needs to be quite well thought out though and account for liquidity. A high earning family that, for example, is financially responsible for the entire support of multiple extended family members (not uncommon in Cayman though not their direct responsibility) in Cayman might struggle to be liquid enough to afford university tuition. In this case, the benefit to the country of that families wealth is being felt by removing the burden of members of the extended family who would otherwise need to rely on Government funding. Their children shouldn’t suffer for their attempt to support the family as a whole. Its a re-distribution of wealth away from one accumulator and back into the economy.

    Sorry, bit of a ramble, in summary what I trying to get at above was:

    1. There should be an allocation of merit based scholarships. It’s a prize for hard work and brilliance and is aspirational (regardless of means).

    2. There should then be a much larger allocation of means tested bursaries.

    3. The means test needs to be carefully thought out, however, as arbitrary standards will simply end up in a decline in students being educated abroad. The whole country suffers if that happens – as Mr. Scott said…all we have is “human capital”. We need to be very sensible about changes that affect its evolution and willing to make nimble adjustments if the test proves to be too broad or too narrow.

    Also, agree the curriculum requirements need streamlining, don’t agree with the inference that students being produced currently aren’t internationally competitive now despite the issues.

    We have kids that have attended most Ivy League and Russell Group universities, hold doctorates, masters, multiple bachelors, etc. from them and I, personally, know of a handful of Rhoades scholars. We have some talented people in Hollywood doing some incredible things (shout out to Frankie Flowers and Grace (she’s starring on a Marvel show called the Gifted, Ya’ll!) and a couple of ladies who are certifiably among the most attractive in the world (according the Sports Illustrated, at least). We even have a handful of Olympians. That’s an incredible achievement for a rolling population of about 20,000 or so “Caymanians”. We are competitive, but we need to make sure that we fix the broken parts of the system and get past thinking that all of our kids need to be doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects – etc. We need builders, electricians, mechanics, masons, artists – creatives who are skilled and innovative and we need to give them room to grow and create here.

    Fusion of the schools. Yes! overdue. I think it should go both ways though, children of parents who are not yet Caymanian should be able to apply to government run schools (though I suspect unsubsidized costs of tuition at Gov. schools would shock people – Govs. aren’t great generally at price control in education) and children of parents who are Caymanian should be able to apply to private schools with the expectation that Government will subsidize the cost of their tuition. Having said that, the need for certain schools to be geared towards high achievers (regardless of nationality) will never fade. To that extent I don’t agree with taking away a school’s ability to be selective. I didn’t grow up with a perceivable divide between myself and kids who weren’t yet officially called Caymanians. I attended both public and private during the course of my education. Also, get off it re Caymanians not paying tax. Everyone who lives here does (its simply consumption based as its built into the cost of literally everything). Education is one of the few areas of difference but then education for nationals is reserved for nationals in almost every country around the world. Of course, we could be pioneering and figure out a way to efficiently educate all children on Island equally up to high school level, massive brownie points to any who figures out a sustainable model.

    To us, we all lived here, loved it here and spent our childhoods making memories in the same places – so we were all Caymanian.

    Emotional Sidebar –

    Sick of this vicious ‘expatriate”caymanian’ divide. This festering ooze of a topic seems to have exploded while my generation was away in school. We hardly recognised the hatred when we came back. How can you look at a child whose identity has been shaped by an inherently Caymanian life experience and tell them they don’t belong?

    No way, if I’ve known you since we were five and we climbed (and fell probably) out of the same plum trees, picked up ‘buck toes’ learning to ride our bikes, fished and caught nothing, got dusty on the same soccer pitches, learned to swim in the same waters, if we were together through our first crushes, all our heartbreaks (Skype counts), if you were one of the people I called when I got my scholarship and my university acceptance letters and we went out into the world together to make something of ourselves (but grew ‘homesick’ when we left ‘home’ after the first few semesters) and at the end of it you came ‘home’ and we all sat down and told our crazy stories over dominoes (or the like), give directions by reference to notable trees or landmarks instead of street names? when you read a news paper article about a proposed legislative change, do you care? Does it make you angry when politicians (non-partisan comment) seem to be making choices that in your view don’t appear to be in the interests of the country as a whole and its future?…you’re Caymanian…just like me and this is OUR home. What matters the most is that when you think of home… your heart ends up here and so do you.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    I’m so happy to see this finally addressed. Govt scholarships should be for families whose children have done well but they do not have the means to send them to college. The practice of the children of lawyers, doctors, accountants and the like receiving Govt scholarships is a national disgrace; this practice has been going on from the 1980’s. I know that from back then that the majority of children that got scholarships were from homes that could afford to pay. Thanks Dan for addressing this.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Meanwhile, the government can find public money to send any Miss Cayman to a full-paid 4 year university for strutting her stuff across a stage.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Do not hold your breath. How, without a lot of honesty can this be monitored. You have people working for government on fat salaries who run their own businesses during government time. They don’t appear to be able to monitor this, so how in Gods name are they going to monitor means testing?

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  14. No state citizen says:

    Excellent! It is about time.

    I have read some silly comments about “punishing” high-income earners, I find this attitude to be selfish.

    No one is “punishing” you because you are wealthy.
    If my spouse and I are together earning $15,000 per month, surely we can contribute something to the education of OUR child.

    While a child of a wealthy parent has attained top marks, there are also children of parents who are not wealthy who have also attained high grades yet they both receive the same $25,000. While the wealthy parent can easily find another $25,000 to male the difference between the tuition and the scholarship, the other parent cannot even find an additional $500 for the airfare.

    It is equitable to expect that if we are high earners we can contribute something when compared to a single parent who is making $3,000 per month or less.

    In the United States, they have grants but mostly they have student loans!
    Scholarships are usually given from the Universities themselves.

    In other Caribbean islands, scholarships are rare and treasured. If a student is granted a scholarship, they are usually top in the entire island and sometimes even the region.

    I find a lot of people here have entitled attitudes, as though the Government is obligated to give them a scholarship.

    Young people, be grateful that your government is investing in their youths the way they do but do not take ot for granted. You are not entitled to a scholarship and the Government owes you nothing.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    There’s a semantic problem here that few seem to have noticed. Scholarships should be based on just that – scholarship. They are awarded to those students who earn them through achievement. How much money their parents have (or don’t have) is irrelevant. CIG should continue to encourage their best and brightest to study abroad, period. At the same time, a robust bursary program should be instituted for those students who may not qualify for scholarships but who meet certain reasonable standards and who have financial need. A Government backed student loans program wouldn’t be a bad idea either – it’s how I got through school and I was happy to pay back every penny. It’s possible to run all of these programs to make sure that those who will benefit from overseas study can afford it. But please, please, make sure that those students go to a decent school and maintain a reasonable grade point average. Otherwise it’s money wasted no matter what you call it.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Be interesting to see how they verify the family income of people who are self-employed with no tax or social security payment records to cross-reference.

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    • Anon. says:

      Same method banks use to verify their income when they are requesting a loan.

      Intelligent people should be able to ascertain when things don’t add up.

      1. Bank statements for the last six months to a year.

      2. Financial statements signed off by certified accountants (who could lose their certification if they lie).

      3.Copies of invoiced expenses

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  17. Make it happen! says:

    Halle bloody Lullia! Far too many children from super wealthy families have been recipients of scholarships over the years while that money could be invested in other educational initiatives. Households with income less than $100kpa should qualify for scholarships and on a pro-rated basis. Means testing is imperative.
    At the same time local schools should also require a deposit to cover cost of texts books. Look after the books get a % of deposit back. Works in many other countries and don’t give the “tried that” excuse. Just need a good accountant and admin team at the school to keep on top of it.
    Tara rivers didn’t get far with this so maybe mr Scott can – when is there going to be a 1. High school built in West Bay to cover the bus loads of HS students going to GT everyday and 2. A technical school or classes at school to teach mechanics building electrical plumbing dressmaking hairdressing etc. Teach our youth some skills they can use in the real world and service our local population.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There you go – please explain to me how someone earning $100K per year can afford to send their child to an overseas university where in many cases the international tuition and boarding is $50K per annum. Now do that for two children who are at university

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      • Born ya! says:

        “Payment plan” and “student loan” comes to mind.

        Stop making excuses.
        Your choice to have two, three, four children Bobo.

        I hear UK tuition is not that high but again your choice to send YOUR child to expensive university in the US.

        If my child is accepted to Harvard, that is wonderful now I (not the Government) have to figure out how to pay for it!

        People don’t seem to consider costs of children when having them and then have an entitled attitude like the Government is obligated to give them a scholarship.

        I don’t understand the attitude that because YOUR child has successfully completes high school with top marks automatically means the government must give them a scholarship!
        NO! NO! NO!

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    • Anonymous says:

      The technical school is called CIFEC who to be knowledge offer hairdressing and car mechanics. They just need to add more subjects.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    What constitutes a high income? What is the national average? And now we should punish high earners? Dangerous road we travel….Dan is ok…but what about a succesful accountant earning $90K p.a…..with 3 dependents….etc, etc…..so much for that child having worked so hard in school and got their Ivy League offer…Cayman says no to you cause you’re rich

    Dear oh dear.

    If anything, we should be offering full scholarships to every Caymanian (from multi-generational or recent Status recipient) and asking them to study hard, represent Cayman and spread the word of Cayman globally…

    Such a short sighted, idiotic idea to seek to put more hurdles infront of persons seeking academic success because they’re possibly wealthy?

    And yes, fix the education system from the ground up….but not by chopping it off from the neck down

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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh dear Dan step on your toes. We’ll hear this Cayman National Bank and the others offer student loans. Go get one when you turn comes. There are many persons who isn’t making your type of salary to even qualify for a loan so their children have to suffer. Stop being ungrateful! The government does not owe you anything! whilst your children have the opportunity to go to the best school and have tutoring classes and after school activities others aren’t in that position. Be happy for others you whiner!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Why cant your kids do what kids in UK do which is namely take out a student loan.

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      • Right ya so says:

        Because we don’t have student loans here.

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      • Anonymous says:

        UK kids don’t take out a loan, they are indebted to the UK Government and IF they earn over a certain salary they get an additional % of tax deducted, that way kids who study lower paying degrees typically repay nothing, those that get well paid jobs repay faster than the 30 year timeframe. Big difference.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    As long as its phased in, and the threshold is high! You can’t expect many people to be able to find $100k overnight to cover 4 years of university, on top of the money already needed to top up the shortfall. Most countries encourage savings for education at an early age, if you pull the rug out overnight its not really fair. I’m sure there are some families that can afford it without blinking, but I get the feeling that the threshold will be lower than promised. Also what about those currently in education and receiving a grant, do they get grandfathered under the old rules or will they just get cut tomorrow? I guess the final comment is that at 18 you are an adult, and how your parents treat you will be different family to family. Some will be charged rent, some will have everything paid for them, the level of support isn’t universal, so should what my parents earn, and perhaps have no intention of paying for me, not be of a factor? When does the means test end, if I am 22 and going back to further education would they look at me or my families income? If its my income, when does that kick in 21, 20, 19??

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    • Anonymous says:

      Going back to further education is all well and good considering that you have passed stage 1. On to stage 2 you should work a year and later apply for a student loan. Why should mom and dad keep working hard to pay your debts when their going down hill and you going up. That’s asking a lot!

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Could be a genuine endeavour, but is prime for abuse and manipulation.

    The privacy that Cayman affords the individual in terms of personal data and information is amazing and should be safeguarded.

    In fact, we may see a lot of well-earning candidates avoiding the scholarship avenue altogether for privacy concerns.

    Potentially a win-win situation.

    As for the prospect of integrated students in govt schools – that was how it was when I was in school and it was great.

    Most Caymanians of my generation agree this is the best way, however, I do worry that some expat parents of today wont be very keen on the idea – if regular rhetoric on CNS is to be considered at least.

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    • Fred the Piemaker. says:

      Given the recent revelations on results why would any parent be keen on sending their kids to government schools if they could afford to go private? Expat or Caymanian- we all want the best education for our kids and a safe and non disruptive environment for them to learn in. Problem right now is the only way you can guarantee that is to send your kids private.

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      • Anon says:

        You make Private schools sound like they have no issues. They have just as many but they are private so we don’t hear most of the things that go on.

        And yes if they can afford private and public isn’t good enough then let them pay for their children’s university education as well.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Is Dan Scott now the Minister of Education? Where is the political leadership and Chief Officer’s statements on this? Amazing, guess after the OfReg debacle and others previously with excessive travel spending, the Caymanian tax payers children will now have to suffer. And the future of the country will be affected.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The Minister of Education is from Cayman Brac and you can bet no Bracka will be refused a scholarship no matter how rich their family is FACT.

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      • Anonymous says:

        And so is Dan Scott originally. Look how many heads and chairs of government entities are now Brackas, that is what this Unity government we voted in are all about.

  22. Anonymous says:

    This is a very good move. Why give scholarships to students who have parents who can afford? Not fair at all. These scholarships should be provided to the middle class and poor Caymanians!

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  23. Anonymous says:

    This is not as easy how it appears to be on surface. In my experience, the majority of “means” testing are very flawed.

    1. If you test on salary income alone, it does not consider how many dependents you may have or what other bills (perhaps medical bills) one has
    2. If you test on salary and other income, many people will hide their assets such as rent income or oversea assets etc.
    3. If you test on overall income and expenditure, you end up penalizing those who live within their means and you reward those who likely have more debt due to out of control spending.

    So to me, the fairest test still is the ability of the children and the efforts and involvements they have shown in the community, sports, arts etc over the years as this is irrelevant of financial background.

    Those who can easily afford overseas university education of their children should have a consciences and not apply for financial aid. That’s where really the flaw has been over the years.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The rich are often the most stingy

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    • Anonymous says:

      Whether they hide their assets is immaterial, if they are in a very good job, e.g. Manager of a bank, managing director of an insurance co etc. then the government can assume that they have enough money to pay for their education. I am not saying I agree with the plan but those can easily be means tested.

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      • Anonymous says:

        It’s not cause I am very certain the high earning household incomes are not a sufficient number that will make a drastic change Once they are eliminated from being eligible so the honest household who may earn 150K for example ends up being screwed while another dishonest household with the same income will get the funding.

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      • Anonymous says:

        By any chance do you know what the average salary of a bank manager is? Also, do you know how much university tuitions are now-a-days? I am thinking you have no clue! FYI average University Tuition in the US is 50K a year (before living expenses and books) and in Canada/UK 30K a year. A household income of 150K can’t support a 50K a year university tuition that will BY THE WAY increase each year and still be able to pay the bills and pre-existing mortgages/loans etc.

        Cayman is different from must countries. Where other countries have Universities in their hometowns or close by. All our Caymanian students for the must part need to travel for higher education.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Yes I do know how much the manager of the bank I just retired from made per month and I also sent my children to universities so please don’t come with your rubbish. I also know that many many bank managers children got private scholarships from the bank and kept it quiet and still applied for and received government scholarships. It is much easier for a bank manager’s child to pay for education that a parent whose child is bright and she/ he is working as a cashier.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There are no laws to address a person’s moral compass, hence why theses initiatives have to be put in place!

      Good job Dan.

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  24. Anonymous says:

    Good idea but I can already see some folks getting busy hiding their assets they have overseas so they can still qualify………..

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  25. Anonymous says:

    It will be interesting to see what will be considered a “high-income” household.

    A shame is that those who could quite easily afford a overseas education for their children have applied for Government support. Anyone who is financially very well off and has any decency should have not applied for Government support in the first instance.

    I would be interested to see how many of those children from high-income households who received the scholarship have actually returned to Cayman for a number of years to work locally as I understand is a requirement for receiving those funds. In my experience, those who are very well to do often set their kids up overseas after completing university.

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  26. Anonymous says:

    Not all of us make $10 million a year Mr. Scott. Things are hard even on a good salary!

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    • Anonymous says:

      See, pointing that out makes no sensible argument.

      Even if he makes that or more, this entire thing does not affect him when he was always paying his kids’ way. So what is your point?

      He has good money, he used it to school his kids, not depending on the CIG, what is your point?

      To me, he is helping to look out for those who have been coming up second best to those who can already afford to further educate their own.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Someone told me Dan Scott was educated on some type of funding or scholarship in the USA to become a bean counter. Did his parents have to be means tested? Now that he has had his share of the economic pie and is wealthy, and is able to pay for his own kids, his proposal should it proceed as is, will undoubtedly deny deserving children with ability government scholarships!

      The criteria for any scholarship should be academic only, as this is what parents have already invested in to bring their children up to this point to qualify. Doesn’t he know that it probably costs parents in excess of $600k per child to educate and raise them up to age 18 at private school in our high cost of living country? Where is his data to show what it costs to educate and raise a child in Cayman? Parents have invested over many years with the hope of gaining such relief in the college and university years, and many cannot save in this country because of the high cost of living. His proposal will create another cost to government with more people on the doors of the NAU in the future with the cap on private sector pensions payout at $1,000 per month, and the new public pension scheme no different. Where is his analysis of the economic effect of his proposal on the whole system?

      Scott being US educated obviously doesn’t know that in the mother country Britain “going to university is a rite of passage” per Sam Gyimah the UK Minister of Universities and Science. And “Higher education is a key part of the transition to adulthood offering students the chance to grow as individuals and develop their curiosity and knowledge”.

      This bodes the question of how does his scheme fit into the wider macro economic needs of the country and the objective to build a $200M dock during this administration. This piece of the jig saw puzzle is not clear and the political arm now needs to speak up on what are the plans overall to take Caymanians to full employment?.

      This retrograde step will do nothing to address Caymanian long term employment needs and will only do the opposite as declared by WORC. WORC is trying to address the training and employment, and now here is another arm of government reducing the education and training. The proposal will only increase foreign labour needs and further marginalize Caymanian families!

      Didn’t the government just announce TechCayman, doesn’t Scott think that requires a further increase in training and education and not less as he proposes?

      How does this scheme fit into the announcement that the government finances are in surplus?

      Let us get a wholesome solution for Caymanians and not this disjointed way of approaching policy.

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  27. Anonymous says:

    Scholarships are a reward for hard work and subsequent achievement.
    They should not be “means tested”, rather “earned and deserved”.
    We are not a socialist shithole…yet.

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  28. SSM345 says:

    About time, there are numerous recipients of these scholarships whose parents have the means. When are they also going to hold the recipients accountable to pay it back upon their return? My sister received one back in the day and every-time she went to make payments she was looked at by the staff like she was crazy.

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  29. anonymous says:

    I also find it troubling that private companies offer children of very wealthy parents scholarships, when caymanians are going to school hungry and without text books.Surely a private company with a moral compass, would also do mean testing.
    I know the WP situation is geared to facilitate scholarships, the more scholarships, the more WP. Surely it is time to look at this model, rather than just scholarships, it could also include contribution to educating young caymanians through high school and college, where they do not have the means to attend. I find it troubling also that these very wealthy parents will have their children take scholarships from companies

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  30. Anonymous says:

    Excellent.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Further to this topic: it is responsible that students maintain a decent GPA (I think it’s a 3.0), however there is vast discrepancy in schools and majors. If a student is attending a lesser ranked school, is it fair that a student who is working their butt off at Yale have the same requirements? A 2.9 there is just fine.

  31. Localish says:

    About bloody time! It’s disgraceful to see children whose parents are multi-millionaires and partners in law firms and accounting firms getting scholarships instead of needy families. The 20k per annum should be given to kids that need the financial support. Those wealthy families that apply and receive the scholarship funds have no shame and are greedy bleeding toe rags!

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  32. Anonymous says:

    I trust this recommendation will be taken on board immediately. As a former teacher, it irked me for years to see many gifted, talented and qualified Caymanian students overlooked for scholarships. These such students’ parents were not affluent, in the ‘right’ social status or political affiliations thus the reason(s) for being overlooked.

    I really hope this new policy recommendation will be adopted without hesitation and political interference.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Fully agree. It’s astonishing to me that they haven’t been means tested previously!

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    • Anonymous says:

      So true. (Fingers crossed)

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    • BELONGER says:

      You used an operative word “political interference”. As long as you have politicians around, you will have them sticking their head to their ass into the cookie jar…..trying to secure votes by pushing scholarships on children whose parents can afford it and whose parents supply funds for their political campaigns.

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  33. Anonymous says:

    Long overdue.. Thank you Mr. Scott.

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  34. Anonymous says:

    dan…make it not mandatory the kids study business….give them choices…i know as i got a govt scholarship and was told at the time, “it would be looked on more faborably if you stidied business!” wrong! but i agree with the new policy…stop exploitation by weathier families who do not necessarily need the public purse to educate their kids…????

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    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t agree to give students scholarships if they want to study acting or archaeology for example as those are not careers ideal for Cayman.

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      • Anonymous says:

        If they are bright and have decent passes it should not matter if they want to study acting or archaeology. They should not have to come back to Cayman if they are interested in the two subjects you mentioned.

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      • Anonymous says:

        @ 1:18 pm

        Your kind of backward-a$$ thinking needs to go, and FAR!

        How dare you limit us more than we already are here?!

        Who are you to tell ANY child what they should study?

        This is exactly what is wrong with parents today, for the most part; they all want their little darlings to come back and be frigging premier or partner of a fancy firm making 6 figures!

        Get your heads out your a$$e$! Stop trying to live off your own children, let them live freely and do what they love and enjoy; they will find their place in society, whether it be here in Cayman or elsewhere!

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        • Anonymous says:

          I agree with what you’re saying but you are very aggressive. This is just a bit of constructive advise, try to say your point in a little less of an attack mode kind of way. Shouting down someones opinion will never change their mind.

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        • Jotnar says:

          The point is not to control what they study – the point is whether the taxpayer should pay for the costs of them to study if the subject matter isn’t going to benefit the Cayman economy. Study fine art at Cambridge is you want to – bully for you – but don’t expect everyone else to pay for it.

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  35. Anonymous says:

    I fully agree with this new policy. Government resources are not endless and the grant of scholarships is definitely one area that we can begin to curb the exploitation of such funds.

    Well done, Mr. Scott!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed, but let us cut the waste in other areas first instead of the important area of education. Yes, a different approach is needed, but not this hair brained one. A scholarship should be based on academic merit alone with priority areas of study, and strict conditions attached such as returning to work in Cayman for X amount of years.

      A low interest payment scheme (other than CIDB’s high interest rate loan, which BTW Scott should have been chairman of anyway as it better suits his background) for the non scholarships would be more attractive. Why should I have to declare all of my business to some volunteer council of education that is not bound by any data protection, where there are no penalties for leaking personal information where it would be impossible to prove the source of the leak?

      Cayman is a small place, and people don’t want their business broadcasted.

      By the way wasn’t EY the same firm paid a phenomenal amount to float the idea of Charter Schools to eliminate government schools entirely. Scott has shown his thinking with this that there must be no social conscience by a government.

  36. Anonymous says:

    2018-19 Ivy League college tuitions are >$50k a year. I think there should be a higher qualifying performance component as well as a household means test. A kid that is really going places in life should be allowed to achieve without a cloud of forced indentureship or legal spats with local employers that were only sponsoring those students for Immigration optics. Our homegrown students need to buckle down and aim high to compete on a global basis with potential permit holders without the tethers and conditions that often come from private bursaries. Going to a recognized university for undergrad and postgrad helps a lot in life.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Then don’t send your child to an American University. Send them to the UK, Europe or Canada which are all significan’ty cheaper.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Students with a Cayman passport are classified as home students in the UK and are entitled to the associated preferred rates. Oxford and Cambridge, like other English schools, cost about CI$10K pa while Scottish schools, including the University of Edinburgh, cost about CI$2,000 per year.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Scottish universities are charged at the same rate as English universities, but that only covers the course, you have to add on accommodation 7k, travel 2k, food 3k, plus incidentals, There’s no way you can get away with less than about 22k, which is slightly over the 20k scholarship grant and does make financial sense. However, assimilating into a UK culture takes a lot more adjustment than it does for a US university, less family support, greater distance, sometimes radically different weather. Some of these kids will never have been further than Florida..Just saying its not always that easy. Some kids will excel in the UK, others will flounder. PS I found the full costs for sending my kids to the UK was about 32k once you factor in phones, laptops, flights for accompanying parents, accommodation etc. Both kids still had holiday jobs to pay for extras.

        • Anonymous says:

          Great news for those graduating via the IGCSE curriculum…ie. private-schooled Cayman Prep kids.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, but hey need a full British passports a visa to study full time in he U.K.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sure, why send your kid to a top 15 ranked school when they can go to the 37th (McGill)?

  37. A says:

    Finally someone gets it.

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  38. RICK says:

    So Caymanians want private schools to expand on their own and accept locals but at the same time expats cant get a Caymanian scholarship.
    Very interesting

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    • Anonymous says:

      Why should expats be granted local scholarships?

      Please explain your rationale.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Local private schools were not created for expats.

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      • RICK says:

        Cause expats are the ones paying fees and taxes to Cayman yet still they are forced to send their offsprings to private schools by law.

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        • Anonymous says:

          No one is forcing Expats to come here. They do so on their own conviction. That’s just the price of admission and as we all know even for Locals this is pay to play.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You know these are scholarships that are funded by the government right? What country are you from?? Please review the laws and policies in you own country and let us know what the standard is.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Rick is a dick….through and through.

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  39. Anonymous says:

    I am mixed about this one. On the one hand I agree that scholarships should be available to all Caymanian students but on the other hand as the Partner Directer of E & Y said, if you can pay for the tuition then why take money for it when someone less “economically challenged” could use it.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Did you actually read the article?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Did you read the person’s comment properly before jumping down their throat?

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      • Anonymous says:

        @11:21 Yes I did read the article, I was stating my own opinion on the matter. Please explain the reason behind your comment. And @11:57, thanks.

      • Anonymous says:

        @10:33 is just saying that while all Caymanian students should be eligible for the scholarships, if their parents can afford to send them to school without it, then they should instead of taking a scholarship that may prevent someone else from getting one.

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