The Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs is committed to providing students with every possible opportunity to fulfill their education and career goals. Scholarships are available through the Scholarship Secretariat to pursue local or overseas tertiary studies, TVET, Associate, Bachelor, Master and Ph.D.
Scholarship Funding for Caymanian Secondary School Students
All Caymanian students in one of the three Government high schools are provided with a free education up until the end of secondary school (Year 12). However, the Government, through the Scholarship Secretariat, have made certain financial/scholarship provisions available to families of Caymanian high school students who have qualified to enter a private institution to take A Levels, a BTEC Level 3 Extended course, AP or CAPE courses or the IB. Any students who leave one of the government high schools to enter a private school (or ICCI or UCCI) are given what is called ‘Dual-Entry’. This simply means that these students are tracked through to the end of Year 12.
A Level Students
If a Caymanian government high school student has the qualifying grades and is formally accepted onto an A Level course at either Cayman Prep & High School (CPHS) or St. Ignatius Catholic School, the student can apply to the Scholarship Secretariat for funding to pay up to CI$12,500 towards tuition fees for the first year of the two year course, and then up to CI$7,000 for the second year of the course. Parents need to be prepared to pay for all incidentals including PTA fees, uniforms and AS and A Level exam fees. To qualify for financial assistance towards the fees, students need to have achieved a minimum of 5 IGCSE/GCSE/CXC passes at grade C or higher and have passed English and Mathematics. To qualify for funding in the second year of the course students must achieve a minimum of C, C, C in their AS Level exams at the end of the first year of their A Level course. Any money received from the Scholarship Secretariat is paid directly to the school and cannot be used for uniforms or any other incidentals. An additional contribution is also made towards books.
Some children also leave Cayman at 16 and go to England to take A Levels or a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma at a 6th form college. In the UK government school system if a child has a British passport then they are ‘fee-free’ until they turn 19 years of age. The Scholarship Secretariat will then contribute up to CI$7,000 towards the student’s living expenses but only if the A Level/BTEC are not available locally.
Caymanian students who have been at Cayman Prep or St. Ignatius all the way through their secondary schooling, and who have been accepted onto the A Level programme, plus have gained a minimum of 5 IGCSE/GCSE/CXC passes at grade C or higher including English and Maths, can also apply for assistance with the fees for their A Level course. On achieving a successful application to the Scholarship Secretariat, these students can get financial assistance of up to CI$7,000 for each of the two years of their A Level course. Students must have achieved grades C, C, C in their AS Levels to get funding for their second year.
Associate’s Degree Students
If a Caymanian government high school student chooses to finish their secondary education doing an Associate’s Degree at UCCI or ICCI then they can apply for the fees to be paid. However, all students who have not achieved either an A or B grade in English and Maths are mandated to take remedial Maths and English at college level, as well as College Skill classes and Career Classes. History has shown educators that if a student fails English and Maths at IGCSE/GCSE/CXC then they are likely to fail their Associate Level course, and that fail then remains in their academic history and affects their university accumulative performance, the student’s ability to get into other universities, and it affects their ability to get a scholarship to help with funding. The Associates Degree takes about 2.5 years at UCCI (with 68 credits), 18 months at ICCI (which is a quarter-term institution) and you will graduate with an Associate’s worth 90 credits.
If any other Caymanian student wants to do an Associate’s Degree at UCCI/ICCI then they can also get funding towards both years of their course if they have achieved enough passes in external exams to qualify to take the course. Funding is capped at CI$7,000 per year and is awarded based on the student’s IGCSE/GCSE/CXC results.
BTEC Diploma Students
If a student would rather do a course which includes lots of hands-on special project assignments and work experience then they might want to choose a BTEC Level 1, 2 or 3 Diploma. The Government high schools in Cayman offer BTEC Level 1 and 2 courses, and CIFEC offers BTEC Level 1, 2 courses as well as the first year (only) of the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma. For students to compete their Level 3 diploma, which is considered the equivalent of taking 3 A Levels, they will need to go to England to take the second year. To qualify for an overseas undergraduate scholarship students taking the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma will need to finish the two-year course with a minimum grade of triple merit (MMM).
CIFEC currently offers two BTEC Level 3 Extended Diplomas in a) Creative Media Film & TV and b) Business.
AP, CAPE and IB Students
Scholarship funding of up to CI$7,000 is available to Caymanian students who are going into their final year of studying Advance Placements (AP), Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE), or the International Baccalaureate (IB). Students must have already completed the first year of their course and have taken the minimum number of courses required by the Scholarship Secretariat in their first year of AP, CAPE or IB, and have achieved minimum grade passes of C/3 or a GPA of 3.25 (with no D’s or F’s).
GPA – Grade Point Average
A GPA of 4.0 is the equivalent of an A, 3.5 GPA is the equivalent of a B+, 3.0 GPA is the equivalent of a B and a 2.0 GPA is the equivalent of a C. To qualify for an overseas scholarship to attend university, the student must finish with a GPA of at least 3.0 or 3 x A Levels at C grade.
Note on University Entry Requirements
For those students wanting to go to university, it is worth them checking the entry criteria at a few different universities to get a clear idea of where they need to aim. The universities will clearly outline what subjects they require you to have taken at A Level (or its equivalent) and what results they require for you to be considered for entry to the course.
Documents Required for Secondary School Funding
1) A completed application form
2) Official high school or college transcripts (final transcripts may be uploaded after closing date)
3) Birth Certificate and Status letter/Right to be Caymanian certificate
4) Letter of Acceptance (may be uploaded after closing date)
5) Personal Statement (to include why you are deserving of a scholarship, how you plan to use that A Level, what they intend to do with it, how it will be beneficial to the community)
6) Cover Letter
7) One Passport Sized Photograph
Tertiary Education Funding/Scholarships for University
In an effort to ensure that Caymanians have the opportunity to fulfill their educational and career goals, the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Land (MEYSAL) through the Education Council and administered by the Scholarship Secretariat, offer scholarships and grants to all Caymanian students who qualify to pursue either a local or an overseas tertiary education course. Students can apply for an overseas scholarship between November 15th and 31st January annually, and a local scholarship between March 1st and 30th April. No late applications are accepted. Students need to apply to a university prior to their scholarship application. The qualifying criteria for a scholarship varies depending on whether you are aiming to take a Technical and Vocational course, a Bachelor’s degree, a Master’s or a PhD. Incidentally, you must be 18 within the first academic year of study, but there is no upper age limit on applying for a scholarship. There is currently no means testing for scholarships although the Education Council is considering it.
The qualifying criteria for a local or overseas scholarship can be quite complicated and vary according to which type of degree or course you choose to take. For detailed lists and application forms see the Scholarship section of the following website: www.education.gov.ky.
Technical/Vocational Study Programmes (TVET)
To be considered for an overseas scholarship for a Technical/Vocational Study Programmes (TVET) such as Auto Mechanics, Computer Engineering, Building Construction Technology or Radiography Technician you must have 5 higher level GCSE/CXC subject passes with A, B or C grades including Math and English Language, or 3 higher GCSE/CXC passes with A, B or C grades with 99 Foundation Maths and English with A or B grades from UCCI or ICCI, or a cumulative high school GPA of 2.75 or higher including Maths and English Language passes with A, B or C grades, or a cumulative GPA of 2.5 in your first year of study at UCCI or other Institution WITH professional or academic work in the desired course of study. Mature Candidates will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
Undergraduate Degree Scholarships
To be considered for an overseas scholarship to study a Bachelor’s degree programme you must have passed your AP, IB, A Levels, BTEC, SATs or Associates Degree to a certain criteria set out in the Scholarship Secretariat’s application form.
a) International Baccalaureate (IB): you must have taken and passed the full IB diploma, must have 3 x Higher Level IB certificates with a minimum of 13 points, and no grade lower than 4, and 2 x Standard Level IB subjects at the 12th grade level with a cumulative high school GPA of 3.25. Or 5 x Standard Level certificates with no grade lower than 4.
b) Advanced Placement (AP): Three group A subjects or two group A and two Group B subjects with a minimum grade of 3, and two standard level subjects at the 12th grade level with a cumulative high school GPA of 3.25. [Editor: Please note that only taking two AP subjects will not be enough for a government overseas scholarship]
c) A Levels/CAPE: Three A-Levels/CAPE Unit 2 with a minimum grade of Grade C/3 in each A Level/CAPE Unit 2.
d) Associates Degrees: Must have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher, or Associate level studies with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA.
e) BTEC Level 3: Must have an Extended Diploma with a minimum MMM grade average, SAT score of 1500 (old SAT) or 1100 (new SAT) or ACT score of 22.
The Education Council may award an overseas scholarship to students who do not have advanced standing (IB, A Levels, CAPE, AP) if they meet one of the following two criteria: 1) Seven GCSE/CXC passes at A or B grade, including Mathematics and English, or 2) a combined cumulative High School GPA of 3.25 or higher.
Undergraduate Funding Levels & Subsequent Years
To maintain your scholarship students must achieve a 2.75 GPA or a 2:2 in the first year of study, and a 3.00 GPA or a 2:1 in your subsequent years. The Secretariat have a requirement that you do at least 12 credits per semester/term in your first year and then 15 credits per term in the subsequent years. Overall a Bachelor degree should take 120 credits to complete. Each year you should be doing a minimum of 30 credits for a four year course, and 40 credits for a three year course. The Secretariat’s annual audit of your scholarship will measure this and your funding will stop if you are taking less than the credit requirements. Funding comes in twice a year and is based on your declared expenses. Qualifying students can get funding of up to CI$20,000 per year for a maximum of four years, unless they are reading Medicine and then that can be extended to six years and beyond if the student is specializing in a chosen field and needs to take internships.
Undergraduate Application Process
The application form for an overseas scholarship is not unduly onerous. Applicants must apply online and a number of documents must be uploaded with your online application. These include your completed scholarship application form, your medical certificate, academic/character references, official high school or college transcripts, 1 passport photo, a personal statement, a degree plan outlining the courses to be taken throughout your programme of study, a letter of acceptance on your chosen course and any transfer of credits where this is applicable, an Excel spreadsheet with all the costs outlined (tuition, housing, meals, flights, books etc) plus your birth certificate along with your Right to be Caymanian/Status certificate and a cover letter. It is worth noting that the Scholarship Secretariat want to know that you have looked into your course in great detail. They want to know exactly what modules you will be studying each year and whether there are any specific A Levels (like Maths) that you need to have taken to get into your chosen course.
In the overseas scholarship application process there is a mandatory interview for short-listed undergraduate applicants. That interview must be with two professionals in the field that the student wants to study at undergraduate level. The interview is to determine if the student is ready to undertake the study and whether they understand how they will apply their degree to a job. The panel of interviewees will then score the candidate and then give their recommendations on whether the student is ready, whether they understand the field that they are going to study and whether the university of choice is applicable. Some students choose a university because of a family attachment or because the university itself has been a popular choice with other students, and not chosen because of the course they can take or whether it is the best university for the subject they want to study.
Your parent’s ability to assist financially will be taken into account for all scholarships, and a ‘Declaration of Income and Expenses’ for all sureties will be required to be submitted. You will then have to sign a student bond with your surety if you are awarded a scholarships committing you to a) successfully completing your proposed studies and b) then working in the Cayman Islands for a specific period of time after your studies finish. If you fail to meet either of these two requirements you will have to repay all the scholarship funds that you have received. Having said that, you have a 12-month window in which you should return to Cayman after your degree finishes, or you can apply to the Council for an extension to your return date.
Tracking Undergraduate Scholarship Expenses
Each semester students much go through a detailed submission process for their scholarship funds to be continued, and in the process they must submit a detailed grade and transcript record, along with receipts of how the money they received was spent. All the paperwork will then be reviewed in great detail and the Scholarship Secretariat, who are more like forensic financial accountants, will study how you have spent the money they gave you and whether you qualify to receive any money for the next semester. In addition to the Ministry of Education’s scholarships students can also apply for a private sector scholarship as long as both scholarships do not exceed their total costs.
Although the process of getting a scholarship may seem overwhelming the Secretariat must have a way of measuring student’s performance. They also require the students to go through a costing procedure. Each student must fill in a spreadsheet which automatically tables their expenses and identifies the different costs which they should be thinking about (tuition, room and board, food, dorm supplies, school supplies, books, utilities, transportation at university, flights home etc).
Master’s & PhD Scholarships
To be considered for a scholarship for a Masters or PhD students must have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or an Upper Second Class Degree (2:1) in their most recent degree. They must also have had work experience that is relevant to the course they have chosen to study. Those studying for a Master’s Degree can get up to CI$25,000 per year for two years, and those studying for a PhD can get up to CI$75,000 over three to five years.
There are numerous private scholarships available in the Cayman Islands and on successful application these can be combined with a government scholarship. The amount available annual varies but the large law and accounting firms offer from US$20,000-US$30,000 per year. Below we list the 2018/19 private scholarships which are available:
1) The Gwen Bush Memorial Overseas Scholarship to study boat building or maritime affairs – CI$20,000
2) Ministry of Tourism to study tourism – CI$10,000
3) Maritime Authority of the Cayman Islands (MACI) to study Marine Engineering, Nautical studies or Maritime Administration – CI$20,000-25,000
4) Cayman Islands Insurance Association to study insurance, risk management or actuarial studies – CI$10,000
5) Appleby Cayman Ltd to study law – up to US$100,0000 total funding
6) Maples and Calder Legal Scholarship to study law – US$30,00 per year
7) Maples and Calder Non-Legal Scholarship – up to US$15,000 for up to 3 years
8) Paul F. Fenton Award to study Business at Bishop’s University – up to CAD 20,000 per year
9) PWC Cayman Islands to study Accountancy at an overseas university – up to US$30,000 per year
10) Dart Scholar High School Scholarship available for high school students with strength in maths and science
11) Local Law School Scholarship to study Law – up to CI$7,500 per year
12) Credit Union Scholarship to study Financial Cooperatives (Credit Unions) – full scholarship
13) State Street Cayman Islands Scholarship – up to CI$20,000 per year
14) Campbells Undergraduate Scholarship – CI$20,000 per year for up to 3 years. Preference given to legal studies.
15) Walkers Scholarship Programme to study law
16) Deloitte scholarship programme to study public accounting – up to US$30,000 per year
17) Butterfield Undergraduate Scholarship – up to US$30,000 per year for up to 4 years
18) Rawlinson & Hunter Limited – up to US$30,000 per year for up to 4 years
19) Rotaract Blue Cayman Islands Fred Speirs Vocational Grant to study a vocational or technical course
20) MUFG Alternative Fund Services (Cayman) Limited scholarship – up to US$20,000
21) Ogier Scholarship – up to US$25,000 per year
22) KPMG Accounting Scholarship Opportunities to study Accounting – up to US$30,000 per year
23) Mourant Ozannes’ Chantal Whittaker Memorial Scholarship
24) KPMG’s Novelette A. Ebanks Inspirational Scholarship to study Accounting, Actuarial Science, Finance or Information Technology
25) Cayman Insurance Managers Association’s Educational Scholarship Trust Fund – up to US$40,000 per year for four years
26) EY Annual Accounting Scholarship – up to US$30,000 per year for up to five years.
27) Carey Olsen Articled Clerk Programme
28) Nova’s Love Your Future Scholarship – up to CI$3,000 per year
29) Insurance Managers Association of Cayman Educational Scholarship Fund – up to US$40,000 per year for 4 years
30) William A. Dart Memorial Scholarship – payment of tuition for up to 4 years
31) Conyers Dill & Pearman Legal Secretary Scholarship – up to US$25,000 per year
32) Water Authority Scholarship to study a subject relevant to the work of the Water Authority – up to CI$30,000 per year
33) NCVO’s Scholarship Programme – preference will be given to areas of study that are beneficial to the community such as Education, Social Work, Health, Nursing or related fields of study.
34) Corine Thompson Memorial Scholarship Fund – up to CI$2,000 per student per year to study at ICCI or UCCI
35) DMS Education Grant to study a subject that is relevant to DMS and its affiliates – Amount give to be determined but will contribute towards tuition, room and board, meals, books and travel.
36) Scotiabank Student Bursary to study an undergraduate degree in business or finance – US$5,000 per student per year
37) Greenlight’s Scholarship Program for assistance with local study at UCCI or ICCI or locally based vocational training.
38) Kimpton Seafire’s Scholarship: up to US$25,000 per year for two students. Applicants must be Caymanian, between the ages of 16 and 20, have achieved their high school diploma with a minimum average of B or a GPA of 3.5 over 4 years, and have been accepted onto a 2-year course (max) doing a hospitality related course.