Now in its 19th year, the Medical University of the Americas/Nevis Island Administration Scholarship has awarded more than a dozen Nevisians with scholarships, the most recent two this past week. However, the chair of the scholarship committee worries about the decline in applicants for the scholarship.

The Observer spoke with the permanent secretary in health, Nichole-Slack Liburd, July 6 and she revealed that there has been a decline in applicants. “[We] have not seen as much applications as they use to,” she said. The committee plans to work on correcting this decline.

The application process opens in April and in May each year, two people are chosen. The Medical University of the Americas/Nevis Island Administration (MUA/NIA) Scholarships have been available since 1998 to Nevisians who had been accepted to college to attend a medical undergrad program. Applicants who have been accepted in medical schools in various parts of the United States and throughout the Caribbean can apply for the scholarship.

Slack- Liburd said that NIA and the MUA has made the provision of up to US$22,500 per year for study opportunities in priority areas that are most in need in St. Kitts and Nevis. Applicants enter into a bond agreement that requires them to come back to the federation to retain employment.

Oresia Stapleton of Brick Kiln Village and Yolinda Liburd of Hardtimes Village are the two future medical professionals awarded the 2017 Medical University of the Americas/Nevis Island Administration Scholarship. They were announced by Slack-Liburd, chair for the MUA/NIA Scholarship at the legal department’s conference room July 5.

Stapleton will be pursuing a bachelor of science degree in pre-radiologic technology at Midwestern State University in Texas. Liburd will be pursuing a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica.

The other members of the committee are Ornette Herbert, acting permanent secretary in human resources; Palsey Wilkin, principal education officer; Kevin Barrett, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education; Ron Daniel, youth representative; Shelisa Martin-Clarke, private sector representative and Keisha Jones, private sector representative.

The scholarship has benefited 14 applicants with an estimated EC$1.47 million spend in scholarships.