How did you find out about the UWI Development Fund (UWIDEF)?

One day, I got an email from The UWI’s Marketing and Communications Department and I happened to scroll on a little bit further, and I saw scholarships and bursaries available. 

So I said, ‘I’ll go for it.’ 

I signed up for the information session that they offered and found out what I needed to know. I was relieved that accepting a bursary would not have affected my GATE (Government Assistance for Tuition Expenses) funding so I could use that money for anything related to my academics.

When did you find out you were approved for UWIDEF?

I signed up and just had my fingers crossed for the entire time! Eventually, I got the email that I was awarded one. It felt amazing. Honestly, just knowing that I got that opportunity is a feeling I cannot fully describe. But I know for sure that it was something I was so thankful for, and I wanted to tell everyone else about it because I wanted them to get an opportunity as well.

When you receive it, you do find that some pressure is lifted. The worry about funding often takes away from the focus of learning.

MATTHEW DAHOO, UWI DEF RECIPIENT
Would you encourage other students to apply?

I have a very different experience than a lot of people. I worked in the UWI’s financial advisory services, so I got to meet the team that went through the entire process of looking at the applications and also the team calling the donors to get them to send the money for the students. 

But if my best friend asked if she should go through the process, although my path was a little different, I would say’Yes, apply.’ 

Knowing what I know from my experience, it may seem daunting at first, but I would still encourage you to apply. And if you‘re not successful, it’s not a one-and-done scenario. You can always apply the following year. There is always opportunity. It’s a chance, it’s about taking that chance.

How does the UWIDEF help students?

When you receive it, you do find that some pressure is lifted. Before, it was matter of balancing the books – both academically and financially. The worry about funding often takes away from the focus of learning. 

For me, doing a double major meant certain courses were done during the summer semester. GATE does not fund us for the summer courses, so I was able to use the money from my award to pay for my courses and complete them. This made my study load a lot lighter, because it prevented me from having to do six courses during this semester. 

If I had to do it all over again, of course, I would! Honestly, I would definitely do it all over again 10 times over because the experience is so rewarding. And that’s the main thing – it’s so rewarding. 

That’s what I want everyone to feel. That sense of relief, knowing that you’re doing your schoolwork and doing that provides you with that opportunity, and that’s just big.<