The National University (UNA – Universidad Nacional) Nicoya Campus will build a student residence facility early in 2015, with the goal of hosting students that travel from distant areas of Guanacaste.
The complex will have the capacity for 50 scholarship students, with laundry facilities, a kitchen, a study room and sports facilities, thanks to a loan of ₡862 million ($1.6 million) from the World Bank.
Olger Rojas, UNA’s dean, indicated that the project aims to provide greater comfort for the students. “Until now, we have been transfering resources so that students can rent apartments. With the new units, we will not have to look for private homes; the students will have their own housing,” explained Rojas.
According to Rojas, 80% of the Nicoya Campus students are receiving some kind of scholarship or financial assistance. “The students of this region, for the most part, are people of limited means who, without the financial assistance we offer, would have great difficulty being able to finish their degree. For many of them, in addition to covering tuition (enrollment fees and materials), we provide additional help of up to ₡120,000 ($222) for travel expenses,” commented Rojas.
The dean explained that UNA utilizes ten different categories of assistance covering a range of expenses, from 25% of the tuition and enrollment fees to 100% of those costs plus additional expenses (housing, food, transportation, etc.). Thanks to financial assistance that the students receive, dropout rates are very low – around 5% annually.
UNA began operating in Nicoya in 1992, based out of the College of Agriculture and Livestock. In 2005, the Nicoya campus was inaugurated, which currently hosts 730 students.