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Jun 16, 2020

University of Belize Experiencing a Financial Crunch

Earlier we told that the NICH has started layoffs of staff, including long serving members.  There are also tough times ahead for the national university and there are growing concerns that it may translate to a cut in staff and faculty. The university is said to be facing a projected loss in income of seven point one-six million dollars or twenty-seven point three percent of its 2019/2020 recurrent budget. It had proposed spending twenty-six point two million dollars on personal emoluments and other costs. On June eleventh, a memo sent to the faculty and staff of the University of Belize by President Clement Sankat speaks to “very challenging revenue loss at the university as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.” In the communication, Sankat outlines that G.O.B. has reduced its subvention by twenty-four point two percent, from eleven million dollars to eight point three-four million. The university is also preparing for a twenty-five percent loss in income from student tuitions and fees for academic year 2020/2021 as a result of reduced enrolment due to the inability for new and returning students to fund their education. President Sankat states that the institution has no choice but to reduce expenditure very significantly. By way of a survey, he polled the thoughts of the faculty and staff.


Pio Saqui

Dr. Pio Saqui, President, U.B.F.S.U.

“The president of the university is right that the impact of the pandemic caused by COVID-19 is global; this is not something that is immune to Belize or we are immune to it as a country and by extension the University of Belize is vulnerable to the situation. We are expecting that the impact is going to be something that we have to engage. Fortunately, the builders of the university had foreseen this and have prepared a procedure for us in ways that this can be engaged. So we don’t know what the changes will be, the president shared some numbers with us. He has not made any formal proposals, he has asked for us to join in the participation, engaging him in conversation in finding mechanisms for us to help in bridging the gap. We are prepared to do that.”


A tuition increase, which was approved by the Board of Trustees to take effect this upcoming academic year, has been suspended. There is also a proposal for student fees to be reduced by twenty-five percent in an effort to retain students.

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