Funding for Caymanian Secondary School Students

All children who leave Government high schools at 16, at the end of Year 11, will have taken either GCSEs or CXCs. However, since the Cayman Islands Government does not currently offer A Levels in their high schools, they have made provision, by way of a financial scholarship, for all children who qualify with the required grades, to either take A Levels at one of the private schools, or a BTEC or Associates Degree at UCCI or ICCI. There is a plan to reintroduce A Levels into public high schools for the 2024-25 school year.

A Level Students

If a Caymanian government high school student has the qualifying grades and is formally accepted into the A Level programme at either Cayman Prep & High School (CPHS) or St. Ignatius Catholic School, the student can get funding towards tuition, books, examination fees and meals for each of the two A Level years. Students need to apply to the Scholarship Secretariat for the funding, and they must have Dual Enrolment approval from the Department of Education Services. Parents need to be prepared to pay for other incidentals, including Parent Teacher Association (PTA) fees and uniforms. To qualify for the aforementioned financial assistance, students need to have achieved a minimum of five IGCSE/GCSE/CXC (PE and Life Skills cannot count towards the five) 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 three C grades 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. The financial information requirement (means testing) for the local scholarship application has been removed. Hence, employment letters and other financial details are no longer required to be submitted with the application.

Some children also leave Cayman at age 16 and go to England to take A Levels or a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma at a Sixth Form college. In the UK state school system (government schooling), if a child has a British passport, they are ‘fee-free’ until they turn 19 years of age. The Scholarship Secretariat will then contribute up to the equivalent of the local tuition amount towards the student’s living expenses, but only if the A Level/BTEC is not available locally.

Caymanian students who have attended a private school in Cayman, and have been accepted into the A Level programme, having achieved a minimum of five 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, these students can get financial assistance towards tuition, books, examination fees and meals for each of the two years of their A Level course. Students must have achieved three C grades in their AS Levels to get funding for their second year.

International Baccalureate

If a Caymanian wants to take the two-year IB course either in Cayman at CIS or overseas, they can apply to the Scholarship Secretariat for a scholarship to help towards the fees. If they qualify they can get up to CI$7,000 per year. The Scholarship Secretariat requires that the student is registered in a minimum of one Higher Level (HL) certificate and four Standard Level (SL) certificates. They must have a minimum GPA of 3.25 with no Ds or Fs in their first year of study of IB and, to receive money in the second year, have a recommendation from the relevant institution to continue with their IB studies into the second year.

Young student

Associates 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 tuition and book 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, they are likely to fail their Associate Level course. That fail then remains on their academic record, affecting their university accumulative performance, the student’s ability to get into other universities, and their ability to get a scholarship to help with funding. The Associate's Degree takes about 2.5 years at UCCI (with 68 credits), 18 months at ICCI (which is a quarter-term institution) and students will graduate with an Associate’s Degree worth 90 credits.

If any other Caymanian student wants to do an Associate’s Degree at UCCI/ICCI, 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.

AP, CAPE Students

Scholarship funding of up to CI$7,000 is available to Caymanian students who are going into their final two years of studying Advance Placements (AP). Caymanian students taking the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE) get both of their final two years of tuition paid in full (up to CI$14,000 per year). However, since CAPE is not currently offered in any school in Cayman, the student must find a school in the Caribbean to take these courses, and they must make the case for why they cannot take A Levels in Cayman instead. The Scholarship Secretariat will not pay a scholarship for a course that is an alternative, but equivalent in terms of academics, if that course can be taken in Cayman.

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, depending on their prior skills, experience and qualifications. Government high schools in Cayman offer BTEC Level 1 and 2 courses, and CIFEC offers BTEC Level 1 and 2 courses, as well as the first year (only) of the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma. For students to complete 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 (known as MMM). CIFEC currently offers two BTEC Level 3 Extended Diplomas in Creative Media Film & TV and Business but only to Certificate and not Diploma level (since you can only attend CIFEC for one year and the full diploma is a two-year course).

Technical Vocational Study Programmes (TVET)

To be considered for an overseas scholarship for a Technical/Vocational Study Programme (TVET) such as Auto Mechanics, Computer Engineering, Building Construction Technology or Radiography Technician, you must have five higher level GCSE/CXC subject passes with A, B or C grades including Maths and English Language, or three 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. Alternatively, you could also have 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. The Education Council have compiled a list of technical/vocational study programmes that they will consider approving scholarships for.

Scholarships are also available to students wanting to stay in Cayman and take a technical and vocational certificate or diploma. Cayman Career Academy offers CIDESCO Diplomas in Beauty Therapy, and Beauty & Spa Management. They also offer certificates in Aesthetics, Body Therapy, Skin Care and Manual Facials. However, they do offer other courses but the Scholarship Secretariat will not approve scholarship funding unless the course leads to a certificate or diploma. To be approved for a course at CCA, you must have a Level 2 certification in cosmetology and a minimum of 3 higher level passes (CXC or GCSE) or their equivalent qualifications, including English and/or Mathematics.

Scholarships for Online Studies

Government educational scholarships are available to pursue online at the local undergraduate level at ICCI and the UWI Open Campus. Online study with an overseas institution is only available at the postgraduate degree level (i.e. Masters level or higher). Please note: you do not have to complete a medical if you are doing postgraduate studies online.

Scholarship Funding for Tertiary Education & University

In an effort to ensure that Caymanians have the opportunity to fulfil their educational and career goals, the Ministry of Education, through the Education Council and administered by the Scholarship Secretariat, offers scholarships and grants to all Caymanian students who qualify to pursue either a local or an overseas tertiary education. Students can apply for an overseas scholarship between November 15th and January 31st annually, and a local scholarship between March 1st and April 30th. No late applications are accepted.

Students need to apply to a university prior to their scholarship application, but they do not have to have received an acceptance letter prior to applying. 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. The minimum age at which you can qualify for an overseas scholarship is 17, but the expectation is that you will turn 18 during that academic year. There is no upper age limit on applying for a scholarship.

Books

Undergraduate Degree Scholarships

To be considered for an overseas scholarship to study a Bachelors degree programme you must have passed your AP, IB, A Levels, BTEC, SATs or Associate's Degree to a certain criteria set out in the Scholarship Secretariats application form.

  • A Levels: Three A Levels with a minimum grade of Grade C in each A-Level.
  • Advanced Placement (AP): You must have passed three group A subjects or two group A and two Group B subjects with a minimum grade of three, and two standard level subjects at the 12th grade level with a cumulative high school GPA of 3.25.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB): You must have taken and passed the full IB diploma, must have three higher level IB certificates with a minimum of 13 points, and no grade lower than 4, and two standard level IB subjects at the 12th grade level with a cumulative high school GPA of 3.25. Alternatively, you can have five standard level certificates with no grade lower than 4.
  • CAPE: Three CAPE Unit 2 with a minimum grade of Grade C/3 in each CAPE Unit 2.
  • Associate's Degrees: Must have a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher, or Associate level studies with a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  • BTEC Level 3: Must have an Extended Diploma with a minimum MMM grade average.In some cases, 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 in all subjects, including Mathematics and English, or 2) A combined cumulative High School GPA of 3.25 or higher and a SAT score of 1100 or ACT score of 22.

Undergraduate Funding Levels & Subsequent Years

To maintain your scholarship, you 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 Education Council has 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's 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.

Students on an overseas scholarship who have competed locally and continue to train while at university and who intend to compete at the collegiate level can be considered Student Athletes. This means that the student can maintain the lower criteria (2.75 GPA or a 2:2 in the UK) for their subsequent years of study. For this, they must get a letter from the Sports Director of the institution that they are attending to prove that they are still training and competing with the college or university.

Another part of the overseas scholarship application process is a mandatory interview for short-listed applicants. That interview includes at least two professionals in the field that the student wants to study. The interview is to determine whether or not the student is ready to undertake the study and whether they understand how they will apply their degree to a job. The panel of interviewers will then score the candidate and determine whether the student is ready, whether they understand the field that they are going to study and whether their university of choice is suitable for them. Some students choose a university because of a family attachment or because the university itself has been a popular choice with other students, rather than because of the course they can take or whether it is the best university for the subject they want to study.

You will have to sign a student bond with your surety if you are awarded a scholarship 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 if you have the opportunity to gain further experience in your field prior to returning home.

GPA Explained

A GPA — or Grade Point Average — 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 or above.

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, a 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 wants 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.

Another part of the overseas scholarship application process is a mandatory interview for short-listed applicants. That interview includes at least two professionals in the field that the student wants to study. The interview is to determine whether or not the student is ready to undertake the study and whether they understand how they will apply their degree to a job. The panel of interviewers will then score the candidate and determine whether the student is ready, whether they understand the field that they are going to study and whether their university of choice is suitable for them. Some students choose a university because of a family attachment or because the university itself has been a popular choice with other students, rather than because of the course they can take or whether it is the best university for the subject they want to study.

A parents 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 scholarship 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 if you have the opportunity to gain further experience in your field prior to returning home.

Tracking Undergraduate Scholarship Expenses

Each semester, students must go through a detailed submission process for their scholarship funds to be continued. This process includes submitting a detailed grade and transcript record, along with major receipts such as tuition, books, accommodation, and airline tickets. The paperwork will then be reviewed in detail. The Scholarship Secretariat reviews the student’s expenditures to ensure that they were applied towards agreed fees/expenses, and then they review the student’s performance and grades. Only after this review has been done is it determined that the next disbursement of funding can be released.

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 that a student’s performance is within the requirements set by the Education Council. They also require students to go through a costing procedure. Each student must fill in a spreadsheet online 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, groceries, books, utilities, transportation at university, flights home, etc.). Each student is given an online folder in which to upload their expenses and details.

Student expenses

Masters & PhD Scholarships

Scholarships for a Masters or PhD are available and students must have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or an Upper Second Class Degree (2:1) in their undergraduate degree. They must also have had work experience that is relevant to the course they have chosen to study. Those studying for a Masters Degree or a PhD can get up to CI$35,000 per year.

Private Scholarships

There are over fifty private scholarships available every year in the Cayman Islands, and these can be combined with a government scholarship. The amount available annually varies, but the large law and accounting firms offer between US$20,000 to US$50,000 per year. Remember that you will have to keep meticulous records on exactly how you spent your scholarship money and this includes receipts for everything. You will usually be required to work for the firm in your summer holidays and on completion of your degree.

A list of private scholarships can be found on the the Private Scholarships page on Cayman Resident where we have outlined the scholarships by industry. Remember that it is absolutely crucial that you get amazing references from the companies you have been interning with, or from your teachers, and to have some interview practice (should you be invited for one). When choosing who to award the scholarship to, most private companies will give preference to those school leavers in the current year who are without the financial means to pursue further studies. The applicants are often free to study any course of their choosing as long as it is at a competitively ranked and accredited university. However, most law firms will want you to study Law and they will then pay for the Professional Practice Course (PPC) before they offer you an Articles of Clerkship. These companies are looking for the best, most motivated Caymanians who will work hard and give back to the Cayman Islands community in a meaningful way.

Government Scholarships

Qualifying Criteria & Means Testing

Means testing has been removed as a criteria for being awarded a local or overseas government scholarship, however, all other criteria remain including academic performance, acceptance into a credited institution, being Caymanian, and being domiciled in the Cayman Islands. For students who have been educated overseas for high school, the Scholarship Secretariat require a travel history to ensure that the student has kept a link with the Cayman Islands and has come home in most of the holidays.

Scholarships are not approved for people at the same level of study that they have already attained, whether or not the qualifications were funded by the Cayman Islands Government.The qualifying criteria for a local or overseas scholarship can be quite complicated. For details on the criteria and how to apply, see the Ministry of Education's scholarship website: https://moescholarships.gov.ky/. Please also note that the Scholarship Secretariat also want to know that your degree will help you get a job in the Cayman Islands when you get back, and how it will benefit the Cayman Islands. If you want to do something very obscure, that definitely will not lead you to getting a job in Cayman, they will refuse to give you a scholarship. Something to bear in mind.