Ministry secures Dutch funding to promote studying locally

POSTED: 10/18/12 12:17 PM

St. Maarten – The Ministry of Education has secured funding from the Dutch government to the tune of approximately 229,000 guilders for tertiary students to study at the University of St. Martin (USM) or other locations within the region. The funding should be able to grant at least 18 recipients who had either applied for study financing prior or would like to become first time applicants with a quality education.
Minister of Education Silveria Jacobs said that the funding was made available through a protocol signed with the Netherlands promoting studying in the region. It will mostly benefit students who did not qualify for study financing under the regular regulations of the island government can then qualify for this financing.
“It was funding that was there but you had to have a project to get the money. So Usona actually has the funds here on St.Maarten. Those who know that they fall in those categories can pick up an application form for this special funding. They do not have to go through the whole process again; they would just have to fill out one form but for those who had never applied before they would have to provide documents that they would readily have to submit to study financing.”
Another category of first time applicants, those who are not Dutch passport holders, can also come in for consideration for funding, the minister revealed.
“There are students at USM who are longtime residents who have not been able to finalize their process in terms of papers. You have to be Dutch to qualify for study financing and in this case if you can prove that you have been here for the past five years and contributing to society or attended school then you will still qualify.”
Approximately 18 students were denied financing for studies abroad. An alternative would have been to process their application through USM for the first two years of undergraduate study and then have them transferred to the Netherlands, the minister explained, but many students did not make use of the opportunity.
“We were relying on the IBSM program here to make it cheaper for government at least for the first two years and then they would be transferred out but in the end there were not enough students to make the program cost effective for USM. So they sent back the students to study financing and that is why many students got their documentation late because they had to redo the whole thing and send it back to finance because they had been completely approved for USM.”

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