Federal HBCU Program will Help Fund UVI School of Medicine

In a resolution passed at a special meeting on Friday evening, the University of the Virgin Islands board of trustees authorized the university to enter into a loan not to exceed $21 million to help fund the construction of its planned medical school, slated to open in the fall of 2016. The loan will be provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s Historically Black College and University Capital Financing Program, which primarily offers loans to fund renovation and repairs of the nation’s HBCUs, but also occasionally helps to fund the construction of new facilities.

The development phase of UVI’s Medical School, which proposes new buildings on both St. Thomas and St. Croix, was announced in April of last year around the time of a $30 million donation to the project by New Generation Power and its Chairman, Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria. The university has since named Dr. Benjamin Sachs, former dean of Tulane Medical School, as the school’s interim dean. In December, an accreditation application was submitted to the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

UVI has borrowed previously from the HBCU Capital Finance Program, which has been lending to HBCUs since 1996. In 2011, the university borrowed $60 million at a 30-year fixed rate for the financing of a new student housing facility, new laboratories, classrooms, and faculty offices, as well as the renovation of existing facilities.

Also authorized at Friday’s special meeting was a request for the university’s 2015-2016 fiscal year appropriation from the government of the Virgin Islands. The amount of the request approved was $29,654,053, which is $100,000 more than the current fiscal year appropriation. The extra $100,000 is being used to support the Distinguished Professorship in International Relations and Diplomacy, which was created in honor of Ambassador Terence A. Todman, a St. Thomas born diplomat who passed away in 2014.

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The 2015-2016 Appropriation includes:

– $23.9 million towards regular operating expenses

– Approximately $4 million towards debt services

– $87,000 in Senior Citizen tuition assistance

– $400,966 in valedictorian and salutatorian tuition assistance scholarships

– $100,000 towards UVI’s Community Engagement and Lifelong Learning program

– $200,000 towards UVI’s Green technology program

– $100,000 towards UVI’s Hotel Management Program

– $355,901 towards UVI’s University Bound Program

– $100,000 towards UVI’s Senior reserve officers traing corps.

Present or participating via phone or video at Friday’s meeting were board members Henry C. Smock, David Hall, Aletha Baumann, Wendy Aurelien, Carol Fulp, Jacqueline A. Sprauve, Patricia D. Steele, Edward E. Thomas, Yvonne E. L. Thraen, and Wesley S. Williams Jr.

The board is scheduled to meet next on March 7 on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix.

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