Dr. Haldane Davies, the vice president of innovation and development at the University of the Virgin Islands, and H.Lavity Stoutt Community College President Judith Vanterpool signed a memorandum of understanding at a press conference on Monday. (Photo: GENEVIEVE GLATSKY)

Under a new collaboration between H. Lavity Stoutt Community College and the University of the Virgin Islands, all students from here who attend UVI are eligible for a $6,000 per year tuition scholarship.

A memorandum of understanding announced at a press conference on Monday also includes opportunities for joint research between students, faculty and staff, said Dr. Haldane Davies, the vice president of innovation and development at UVI.

HLSCC and UVI have an existing agreement under which HLSCC students, after graduating with an associate degree, can matriculate at UVI and count their credits towards a bachelor’s degree.

Dr. Davies said at the press conference that UVI has signed similar agreements with colleges in Dominica and Anguilla in the past few days, and is in talks with the government of Antigua and Barbuda.

Students can access the tuition scholarship at any of the UVI’s campuses in St. Thomas and St. Croix; at its new location in St. Maarten; or by attending virtually through “ZOOM” classrooms.

Through the agreement, VI students will also be able to attend any of UVI’s 180 sister institutions within the National Student Exchange for up to one year and transfer the credits back to UVI while paying the same tuition, Dr. Davies added.

He said the MOU will help VI students access the growing amount of opportunities at UVI, as the university is starting to receive another $20-$25 million for research grants in addition to its $38-$42 million budget.

“We want to make sure that our economies remain strong. We have people from different locations all around the country, around the world, contributing to the stability of our economies,” he said. “We need to ensure that the education level is maintained throughout so that can all continue to prosper and to grow as a territory and as a region.”

School of medicine

In addition to the School of Business; the School of Education; the School of Nursing; the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences; and the College of Science and Mathematics, the UVI is now also developing a school of medicine that will be accredited by the United States-based Liaison Committee on Medical Education, Dr. Davies added.

Eileene Parsons, the deputy chair of HLSCC’s board of governors, also spoke at the press conference.

“Dr. Davies, I honestly feel like HLSCC has been invited for a feast and you have said come and eat without money,” she said, adding, “If ever we needed a well-educated populace, it is in these troubled times.”

HLSCC President Judith Vanterpool went on to say that the college is up for re-accreditation soon and is focusing its efforts on shoring up its financial and human resources for that process.