A total of 420 private students studying at The University of the South Pacific (USP) have received financial assistance under the USP Student Bursary Scheme.
Bursary recipients were from USP member countries and currently studying across USP's 14 campuses throughout the region. More than 50% of the bursary recipients were enrolled into various undergraduate programmes, whilst the rest were enrolled in Postgraduate and Master level programmes.
The Bursary Scheme is a tuition fee assistance programme for USP private students who are facing financial difficulties. This year, successful applicants of the Scheme received 50% of their tuition expenses paid in either Semester 2 or Trimester 3.
Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, Professor Jito Vanualailai said USP is committed to ensuring students are not hampered by their financial circumstances.
"The University is dedicated to assisting students from all backgrounds in obtaining high-quality education irrespective of their financial circumstances," Professor Vanualailai said.
"The Bursary Scheme enables many financially disadvantaged students to pay their tuition fees and continue their studies at USP."
Parallel to this, Professor Vanualailai said, USP is launching a new initiative under the same concept.
"In Semester 1, 2021, USP established the Retrospective Financial Assistance Scheme to assist students. As a result, we've identified 30 students who meet the criterion, and we'll be paying their fees retrospectively," he explained.
Bursary Scheme recipient, 'Ofa He Lotu Ta’ufo’ou, who is studying Bachelor of Science at the Tonga Campus, said that being the first family member to pursue tertiary studies, the bursary allows her to continue her studies because her father is the family's sole provider and he was facing difficulties with her tuition cost.
She expressed gratitude for USP's support and compassion for her hardships, particularly during this pandemic.
Bachelor of Environmental Science student at Laucala Campus, Asela Taufa said, "This bursary opportunity will help reduce the financial barrier and boost my academic and career objectives."
She added that this opportunity would also help alleviate some of her financial challenges, giving her more time to study, learn, and improve her grades.
Bachelor of Arts student at Laucala Campus, Seini B Vulawalu said that paying her tuition as a private student enrolled in four units was difficult.
"Being awarded a University Financial Assistance that covers 50% of my tuition is quite helpful. My application was being reviewed, and I was hoping and praying that it would be approved. To this, I am eternally grateful, and I appreciate the University Scholarship Committee's prompt answer from the time I submitted my application till today."
"The Bursary Scheme, in a way, is an empowerment for students, especially those of us who are financially challenged to continue our education and are working towards achieving our personal goals in life" were the words of elated Frederick Iro from the Solomon Islands, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Laws programme.
All registered and continuing students are eligible for the bursary assistance, excluding students supported by other sponsorship or scholarships schemes.
The applicants need a GPA of 2.5 or above in the most recent term and have a combined family income of not more than FJD 25, 000 a year to be eligible for consideration under the Scheme.
The second call of Bursary Assistance Application will be made in February 2022.
You can learn more about the USP Bursary Scheme, Scholarships and other financial assistance offered by the University here: www.usp.ac.fj/scholarships