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Mrs Sonia Boddie-Thompson, the St. Kitts-Nevis Chevening Alumni Group Leader, made the remarks on Saturday August 10 at a Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis-sponsored 2019 edition of ‘Get Set and Ready for University’ seminar that was held at the NEMA Conference Room in Lime Kiln, Basseterre.
“We are extremely satisfied and we want to extend our immense gratitude to the management and staff of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis for once again coming on board to aid in the development of our country through this educational opportunity for our people,” said Mrs Boddie-Thompson. “We were sponsored by the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis who has been a great partner to our group and we are always happy that they always respond in a positive manner, in very short time to our request.”
A record number of prospective university students turned up for the seminar where they were given tips on the long road that would lead them to the universities of their choice, how to apply for scholarships and what they need to know about scholarships, how to prepare to leave home, and how to settle in once they get to the university in a new country.
The St. Kitts-Nevis Chevening Alumni Group Leader advised that not all of them would be lucky to get scholarships meaning that they would need to look for a student loan and explained why an official of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, Loan Officer Ms Natasha Sutton, was listed to talk to them on the topic ‘How do I access a student loan?’
According to Ms Sutton, the maximum amount the Development Bank offers to prospective students as student loan is US$35,000 (EC$95,092). The bank has a package which has a check list attached to the forms that need to be completed. A prospective student must produce two IDs and an acceptance letter to the college one wishes to attend.
“In terms of types of security that we accept when you are applying a student loan, most students have guarantors,” explained Ms Sutton. “A guarantor is someone who will sign on your behalf. That guarantor will be responsible for the loan just as the person who borrows it. The guarantor should not go over 62 during the life of the loan.”
The bank official further explained that the life of the loan includes the years one is going to study for and up to ten years repayment period. The bank does credit checks on the guarantors to ensure that their net worth is more than what the student is borrowing. Interest is nine per cent on reducing balance.
“Other types of security we look at include real estate, which could be land or land and house,” advised Ms Sutton who was accompanied by Development Bank’s Marketing Officer Ms Vernitha Maynard. “If you are going to use land as security, we ensure that the property is insured every year and that the tax is up to date.”
Chevening Alumni Association of St. Kitts and Nevis members who spoke at the seminar were Mr Andrew Satney on ‘I want to study, where do I begin?’, Group Leader Mrs Sonia Boddie-Thompson on ‘All you need to know about scholarships’, and Mr Crios Freeman on ‘I got accepted, what would I do before I leave home?’ Mr Azard Gumbs, who is not a member of the association talked on ‘How do I make the best of my university experience?’
“We the St. Kitts and Nevis Chevening Alumni Group are happy that we were able to host yet again a ‘Get Set and Ready for University’ seminar, our St. Kitts edition for the year 2019,” said Mrs Boddie-Thompson. “We have another seminar on Saturday (August 17) in Nevis at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church hall in Charlestown because we believe in ensuring that on both islands persons are afforded similar opportunity.”
Mrs Boddie-Thompson, who is also the Clerk of the National Assembly, encouraged all Nevisians and persons on St. Kitts who missed the opportunity on Saturday to go over to Charlestown on August 17 and get the information they need. She also advised that applications for the Chevening Scholarship opened on August 5 and the deadline will be on November 5.
“So nationals and residents should recognise they have a three-month window to apply for the Chevening Scholarship, to make your application competitive and to take advantage of a free opportunity to go to the United Kingdom and earn yourself a free master’s degree,” advised the St. Kitts-Nevis Chevening Alumni Group Leader. “We have done it and we are here to help others to get similar opportunity.”