The faculty at SGU welcomed 152 new degree seeking undergraduate students in the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) this past term. This represents a 90 % increase in intake over spring 2006 and a 170% increase over fall last year. The explosion in demand for undergraduate education at SGU has resulted in an almost 60% increase in this subset of the University’s students. This translates to a record high enrollment of 754 SAS undergraduate students, including 200 students enrolled in the premed and veterinary programs.
The University is gratified by both the numbers of new students entering this fall term and their diversified areas of origin. Students in the undergraduate programs have come from 20 countries. The top country represented is Grenada; other countries represented are Austria, Barbados, Botswana, Canada, Dominica, Ghana, Guyana, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Lebanon, Nigeria, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, The United States, The United Kingdom, Venezuala, Trinidad and Tobago.
Clearly, more students abroad and locally are recognizing the opportunities that exist for them at SGU. There has been a concerted effort by the SGU Admissions Office to share the program offerings of SGU, exploring alternate paths of entry with prospective students, as well as, providing academic/career counseling. This has been executed through School visits, Information Sessions along with attending College and Career Fairs in the various territories.
Focusing much attention on the local level, the University attempts to make tertiary education more accessible to Grenadian students in need by providing substantial scholarships through the Grenadian Undergraduate Scholarship Program (GUSP). Likewise, the University offers the Caricom Undergraduate Scholarship Program (CUSP), which is a need based scholarship available to Caribbean nationals seeking a quality tertiary education. In addition, SGU grants a number of full scholarships for students by agreement with the government of Grenada. The inclusive scholarship programs have played a large part in fuelling the rise of enrollment.
The commitment to tertiary education is echoed by several other countries as well. The Trinidad and Tobago Government has significantly contributed to the increase in Trinidadians attending SGU through its scholarships to Premed and the Higher Education Loan Program (HELP). We are also seeing a growing interest within the OECS territories for an SGU education, which argues well for the future of these small island states. This multi-cultural development in SAS furthers the University’s mission of creating a center of international academic excellence.
A continued increase in the size and diversity of the student body is expected, particularly as the academic programs offered expand. The addition of new majors, especially within the Business Department, directly impact the opportunities available to the growing number of students. An example of this is the newly introduced Certificates in Business program, which targets the working population seeking department specific credentials. The onset of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), which features the free movement of University graduates and skilled professionals, has also served to increase the demand for tertiary education.
SGU has become a realistic option for many students. According to Colin Dowe, Assistant Dean of Enrolment Planning for Caribbean Admissions, “The work within the community has also increased the profile of the institution and prompted endorsements from some of the national ‘movers and shakers’. The fear of being displaced and/or not being competitive in the job market is one of the fallouts of the CSME and as such more citizens are seeking additional certification. The Trinidadian 20/20 vision aims to have 20% of its population holding first degrees. The Ministry of Education in Grenada will like all secondary school teachers to have an undergraduate degree within the next 8 – 10 years. SGU has an obligation to assist in the delivery of these goals.”
Now, more than ever, the provision of a quality, relevant education in a supportive environment is imperative. It is critical that the University not merely confer degrees but rather prepare regional students for the challenges faced by small businesses and nations competing in this global village. The academic foundation combined with the multiculturalism that is a hallmark of the SGU educational experience are the winning combination that sets SGU apart from other universities.
Published on 010/12/2006