University Of The Virgin Islands Becomes First HBCU With Free Tuition Option

The institution is making strides when it comes to providing education for all. 

The journey to free higher learning hit a new stride this month after it was announced the University of The Virgin Islands will provide free tuition to students, making it the first historically black institution to do so.

The Virgin Islands Daily News reports the program stems from Act 8155, titled The Virgin Islands Higher Education Scholarship. Signed into law by Gov. Kenneth Mapp, the program was introduced by Lieutenant Governor and Sen. Tregenza Roach. The act was inspired by the need to increase retention to UVI, who suffered greatly after Hurricane Maria in 2017.

The small university hosts 1,275 undergraduate students with popular programs for Business, Nursing, and Police and Criminal Science. Stipulations for the free program include a 2.5 GPA from residents of V.I. who graduated from a private, public or parochial high school. FAFSA applications must be filled out before March 1 to be considered. Applicants also have to take part in community service projects within seven years of graduating. The projects have to include a timeline of two months to three years.

Speaking to reporters, Sen Roach shared how free tuition will provide a future to many young people on the island.

"It's an exciting time for Virgin Island students and it's an exciting time for the university," Sen. Roach said. "[During Hurricane Maria] we saw students challenged economically who would return for one semester and not come back, maybe two semesters and not come back. I'm grateful to Gov. Mapp because he identified funding, the idea was preempted, it was before the legislation and so we fused the financial component of his bill to mine."

"I want to say to people look at these things not in a vacuum but in the bigger picture. The bigger picture includes looking at our university and what it offers and how we're going to ensure that the labor needs of the territory are met, that we create meaningful education and employment opportunities for our young people."

Blavity reports university president Dr. David Hall was also in favor of the new law.

“A college degree is no longer a luxury that the rich and the academically and athletically gifted individuals can obtain,” he said. “Higher education is a basic necessity and must be provided in the same way we provide other basic necessities.”

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Kevin Hart "Grateful To Be Alive" And Back Home Following Major Car Accident

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According to a source per the website, Hart said he's "grateful to be alive" and on his way to recovery outside of the hospital. He was discharged from Northridge after 10 days before entering a rehab facility. The crash involved his 1970 Plymouth Barracuda which was being driven by his acquaintance Jared Black and his fiancee Rebecca Broxterman, who's Hart's wife Eniko Parrish's personal trainer, was in the backseat. Black suffered back injuries while Broxterman didn't encounter any.

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5 Things You Should Know About Nigerian Political Activist Omoyele Sowore

Political activist Omoyele Sowore's supporters have called for the Nigerian government's release of the vocal figure. The 48-year-old was detained on Aug. 3 for allegations of "threatening public safety, peaceful co-existence and social peace" on the heels of his "Revolution Now" protest (Aug. 5), BBC reports. The call to action was fueled by opposition to the regime of Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari and a need to revamp government policies that'll better reflect the desires of the country's people.

Here are five things to know about Sowore and his call to action.

Omoyele Sowore taught us not to ever trade our dignity for anything, he built our confidence to always speak truth to power and never feel less-human in any circumstance we find ourselves! #RevolutionNow #FreeSoworeNow pic.twitter.com/JmXQn3S5ir

— Revolutionary MO (@officialmo_cas) September 18, 2019

1. Sowore Launched Investigative Publication Sahara Reporters In 2006 Sowore began the online publication with the sole purpose of pinning a spotlight on corruption and holding politicians accountable for wayward actions. Since it was founded in New York City, a number of Nigerian officials have filed lawsuits in U.S. courts against the website for defamation. The Daily Beast nicknamed the outlet as "Africa's Wikileaks" for its unabashed coverage of corruption in Nigeria.

The site "is providing information to Nigerians in a way they've never had it before," Sowore said. Its content is fueled by anonymous Nigerians "who want to see a different country."

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4. According To His Wife, Opeyemi Sowore, There Are No Formal Charges Opeyemi Sowore said her husband has yet to face any charges despite an investigation being spearheaded by the country's government or the Department of State Services (DSS), per Democracy Now. His time in jail without bail has surpassed the court-ordered 45-day mark that the government has to bring charges against a detainee. On Twitter, #FreeSoworeNow mobilized the global community to demand his release.

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Against all odds, against all their efforts to silence us, WE MARCHED. We must be free. Enough is enough.#FreeSowore#FreeSoworeNow#ThisIsNigeria pic.twitter.com/jzncqKWawi

— #RevolutionNow (@TIBmovement) September 18, 2019

5. Nigeria And Freedom Of The Press Under section 39 (1) of Nigeria's constitution, freedom of expression including freedom of the press is protected but past and current instances of censorship have placed a strain on the gather and dissemination of information. "There have been numerous arrests, also in the context of the 5 August demonstration, that actually did take place, where numerous people were arrested, including a number of reporters that work for Sahara Reporters," Nani Jansen Reventlow, a lawyer representing Sowore said to Democracy Now. "But various other human rights defenders in the country have been arrested over the past months."

Earlier this year, a Premium Times reporter was arrested for "refusing to reveal a source," CPJ reports. Office raids have reportedly occurred within the last four years, another journalist at Daily Trust stated.

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Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Fashion Show Makes Its Amazon Prime Debut

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RIHANNA IS BACK ON STAGE. THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR #SAVAGEXFENTYSHOW #SavageXFenty pic.twitter.com/PacWm2yv8T

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Click here to watch the Savage X Fenty fashion show.

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