Government to settle payments owed to MSU in the next two weeks

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has announced that in the next two weeks, his government will settle payments owed to Midwestern State University (MSU) in the amount of US$489,000. He made the disclosure while addressing the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the new Thibaud Primary School on Wednesday.

In October 2023, Dominican students at MSU pleaded with the Government of Dominica to honor its commitment to tuition payment as the registration deadline was approaching. The Texas-based pupils disclosed that failure to resolve the outstanding payments not only hinders their educational progress but also jeopardizes their visa statuses, potentially leading to termination, hence, they feel compelled to bring this issue to the public’s attention for a swift resolution. Additionally, the students assert that their attempts to communicate with various departments within the government have gone unanswered, further prompting them to issue this appeal.

“We have students studying overseas in an unprecedented manner. Hundreds of our students are studying in universities across the globe and then when we owe a little money people talk, but when we pay the monies, nobody talks about it,” Prime Minister Skerrit remarked.

He continued, “We were owing Midwestern about 3 million dollars and as we speak today, we are only owing them $489,000 and in the next two weeks we will pay them the $489,000.”

Skerrit added, “And we shall owe Midwestern not one black cent.”

Meanwhile, he said in the past seven years the government has sent US$13 million to Grambling State University in the USA.

This Skerrit said is, “Dominican money into the US economy in educating our children,” he stated. “This is why sometimes the place is so hot, because we have so many degrees in Dominica.”

 In an article published on Dominica News Online (DNO) dated October 10, 2023, payment records shared by the students from 2021 to the present, highlighted a lapse in payments by the government of Dominica which has resulted in the government owing the learning institution, in excess of USD 1 million. DNO was further reliably informed that the government had committed to a set payment plan of $100,000.00 to MSU monthly which they failed to honor.

Recently, both MSU and Grambling State University issued ultimatums to the government of Dominica for payment. In letters addressed to Dominican students at both institutions, it was noted that the schools had shown patience and understanding towards the government of Dominica, considering the financial challenges posed by external factors such as the pandemic and natural disasters.

However, the accumulating unpaid balances, totaling millions of dollars, have reached a critical point where the universities could no longer sustain the financial strain.

Dr. Edwin Litolff, Vice President for Finance of GSU, revealed that the government of Dominica has accumulated a balance of over USD 3.1 million. Consequently, the university issued an ultimatum to the government of Dominica, providing them with “one last opportunity for payment.”

At the time he said if payment is not received, Dominican students will be barred from registering for classes or residing on campus for the Spring Semester of 2024. Days later, another letter surfaced this time from MSU’s Vice President for Administration and Finance, Dr. Beth Reissenweber, and Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs and Chief Strategy Office, Dr. Keith Lamb, in which MSU stated that all Dominican students will be required to individually comply with the standard payment terms in place for MSU students.

“Any balance owed on your student account, including balances that the Commonwealth of Dominica had promised to pay, must be paid in full before you will be able to register for the Spring 2024 semester. This will include fall 2023 charges. Additionally, any student with a past due government and/or student balance will be unable to receive a transcript upon graduation, in accordance with MSU policy,” the letter stated.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit in response acknowledged the financial challenges faced by his government however pledged a commitment to students’ higher education at an August press conference.

Skerrit emphasized the government’s engagement with affected students, urging them to display self-control and discipline in addressing challenges. He highlighted the government’s significant financial investment in education, aiming to create a robust educational framework for success.

The Prime Minister averred that his government’s discreet but substantial financial investment in education reflects their dedication to creating a robust educational framework that equips Dominicans for success.

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  1. March 11, 2024

    I think it is about time now that Government pulls the plug on paying college tuitions for Dominican students studying abroad. To me, it is ridiculous. What about us who came up to the states long ago and had to struggle on our own to achieve academic prowess? Nobody paid school fees for us. We had to find our way out of this misery. The Government is in no way obligated to Dominicans studying abroad on their own. It is high time to pull the plug. If we did it on our own, then, they should be able to do it on their own as well. Dominica is by no means a rich country. The only scholarship the Government is obligated to is the Island Scholarship. Right now, it sounds like every student gets a scholarship, regardless.

  2. Martha
    March 9, 2024

    In the next 2 weeks? Why not straight away? The coffers empty again. We can’t afford Skerrit and his women any longer, they are too expensive for little Dominica.

  3. Just saying
    March 8, 2024

    DNO what happen to my comment on students paying back the government by providing service to the Commonwealth of Dominica for at least 5 years after studying abroad or that they pay the money in full if they don’t return to provide service. I’m I saying something wrong or you all want Dominica to continue staying backwards.

    Dominica is paying the school bill shouldn’t Dominica be the beneficiary instead of them staying in the US after their studies? Why should Dominica pay the US for the study of these individuals and they remain in the US and give the US their services because they don’t want to return to DA. Is this fare to Dominica and its citizens? If they don’t pay back with their services they should pay back the money. If they don’t pay back I will say it again don’t renew their passports. Dominica deserves better. They young people need to come back and help their country after it has invested in them.

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    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11
    • Zandoli
      March 8, 2024

      Students used to have to post a type of bond to ensure they return to serve. In the absence of some type of financial obligation, I can’t blame the students for seeking better opportunities. Most of us did it.
      Dominica’s population has been flat for over 50 years or more, precisely because of the migration of its young people.
      On the flip side, if the government does not provide that assistance, we will have a major problem of talent that is wasted because of the lack of local opportunities.
      A lot of Dominican would return home if they could earn half of what they earn overseas. But given the perpetual moribund state of the economy, people have to do what is in their best interests.

  4. Just saying
    March 8, 2024

    Dominica please learn something from all this. My question is why is Dominica paying for students to attend schools overseas and then they remain in the countries like the USA with their degrees. Dominica need to implement a pay back program for anyone wishing to study abroad on Dominicans back. There should be an agreement made in writing that these students come back to Dominica after completing their studies and give back at least 5 years service to the commonwealth after which they are free to do whatever they please. If they choose not to return to fulfill their agreement their passports should not be renewed until they pay off every cent paid on their behalf to the schools. It is high time that Dominica stop paying to educate its people and after graduation get nothing in return as these individuals stay in the United States and other countries. Dominica’s is educating its people for other countries benefit and that should stop. Wake UP PM!!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3
    • Angela Mcpherson
      March 9, 2024

      That’s my sentiment exactly. They all want to study overseas and the Government to foot the bill. Shouldn’t they give something back in return. If they want to study overseas which I’m not against, let them take loans. When they default let the bank take whatever they put up as collateral. You don’t have to like Skeritt to speak the truth about what’s going on. They are are quick to publicize that the government is not paying this tuition, if it is as the bank that they owed would they divulge information to the news outlets? Politics, Politics. One of these days some of us will be wishing that Skeritt was still around.

  5. Zandoli
    March 8, 2024

    It is comical for Skerrit to expect a pat on the back for finally doing something that should have been done a long time ago.

    I can only imagine walking into my boss’s office beaming with pride because I was very late in completing a project, delayed implementation, cost the company money and then asking for a raise for a job well done :-x :lol: I think I would get kicked out of his office ( or fired at worse).

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2
  6. Ibo France
    March 8, 2024

    This man, Roosevelt, should be bowing his head in disgrace for putting the country’s most ambitious and ‘Brightest Sparks’ through such mental torture. Just imagine how emotionally devastating this uncertainty of whether they would proceed or not with their studies because the corrupt and uncaring government failed to live up to their financial obligation.

    Instead of Roosevelt come smiling and gloating that the remaining debt to one of the institutions of higher learning would shortly be paid off, he should be penitent, begging the frazzled students for forgiveness.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3
    • Angela Mcpherson
      March 9, 2024

      Am I the only one to notice that it’s mostly those that study in China and Cuba that really come back to serve. I guess the reason is that the US don’t recognize there degrees.
      Wake up people! Face the truth and stop sticking your heads where the sun doesn’t shine.

  7. If we knew better
    March 8, 2024

    THIS IS MADNESSSSSS!!! And all you praising Mr. for allowing them fing to happen? 13 million in unpaid tuition? I can never support that.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 4
  8. Zandoli
    March 8, 2024

    University “pupils”? I have never heard university students referred to as pupils.
    Anyway….he is making that payment. How about making sure the account is maintained such that those and other students don’t have to deal with this type of situation in the future. It is stressful enough having to deal with university life, exams, being in a foreign country with no family around for support, adapting to a new culture. Students don’t need the added stress of possibly having their studies interrupted because the government does not prioritize payment of their fees.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2
    • Ibo France
      March 8, 2024

      Roosevelt does not like to pay debts. This fact was revealed after the passage of Hurricane Maria.

      Don’t believe this inveterate Liar when he says the $3.1M debt has been reduced to a few thousand dollars. Verify first, he is most likely lying. How may times he has repeated for the past many years that this specific debt would have been paid off. The man tells more lies than Satan.

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