11 things you should know about changes to the GATE programme
An income-only means test will be applied for students commencing new programmes and accessing the Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses (GATE) Programme, effective August 2017.
The means test will be used to determine what percentage of funding is granted to students, by assessing a household/individual’s ability to contribute to the payment of tuition.
At a media conference on Tuesday, Education Minister Anthony Garcia sought to clarify misconceptions over the programme since the announcement of changes to be implemented for the new academic year.
He stressed that all students will receive some form of funding from GATE, no matter what the total monthly household income.
Here are 11 things you should know about the changes to the GATE programme:
1. Students commencing new programmes from August 2017 will be subject to means testing. Those enrolled in programmes prior to this period are exempted from the means test. GATE funding for those over 50 will be discontinued. Those over 50 and already enrolled in programmes will not be affected.
2. Means testing is not compulsory. Students who do not wish to apply for means testing will be required to pay 50 percent of tuition fees for undergraduate programmes or 75 percent for postgraduate programmes.
3. Means testing has been fully integrated into the GATE e-Service platform, where students apply for GATE funding.
4. Students will be required to submit information on the income of each member of their household. Sources of income must be supported with official documentation, which is listed on the website (www.e-gate.gov.tt)
5. Incomplete undergraduate or postgraduate applications will not be processed. Students will be required to pay 50 percent of tuition fees for undergraduate programmes or 75 percent in the case of postgraduate programmes.
6. Where the total household income is $10,000 per month or less, the student will be eligible for 100 percent funding. Where the total household income is above $10,000 per month but less than $30,000, the student will be eligible for 75 percent funding. Students are eligible for 50 percent funding where the total household income is $30,000 or more monthly.
7. In households where more than one student is enrolled in a tertiary level programme of study, while the Education Ministry is constrained by directives from Cabinet regarding how funding is granted, special cases can be brought before the Cabinet for possible concessions.
8. Students enrolled in postgraduate study will be eligible for 50 percent funding where the total household income is less than $30,000 monthly, and 25 percent funding where the monthly household income is $30,000 or more.
9. Postgraduate students in receipt of GATE funding in the 2017/2018 academic year will continue to receive funding for the duration of their programme subsequent to the implementation of the developmental needs criteria.
10. The means test will be reviewed in the next academic year, which is expected to be a more detailed test than the one currently being implemented.
11. Students are asked to ensure that accurate information is submitted for the means test to avoid sanctions such as withdrawal of funding, reimbursement of funding or debarment from future access to the GATE programme. The Education Ministry will be sending out investigation officers to verify the truth of information submitted where it is determined that the submission is not accurate.