Davis calls on PM to explain UB tuition and fee hike
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis yesterday called on the government to explain why the University of The Bahamas (UB) intends to implement a tuition increase for all first-time, first-year enrolled students after the prime minister promised free tuition for students in the upcoming fall semester.
On Saturday, UB announced via an email to faculty and students that effective fall 2019, the university will implement a 15 percent increase in tuition for all first-time, first-year enrolled students, with additional increases in a number of fees.
“The public outcry at the latest hike in fees at the University of The Bahamas indicates a sense of betrayal by this government who campaigned on free education at UB and made much about fulfilling a campaign promise by delivering on this promise,” Davis told reporters at the PLP’s monthly press conference.
“Perhaps the government would wish to clarify its policy position on this latest announcement.
“Who is affected by these increases?
“How do these increases reconcile with the policy of free education at UB?”
In June 2018, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis pledged that free tuition for full-time Bahamian students at UB will begin Fall 2019.
As that deadline nears, Minnis, in his second national report this year, reiterated the government’s pledge to provide free tuition to qualifying students to attend UB.
However, he has yet to elaborate on who will qualify.
Minnis also said Family Island students will receive a $500 per month living allowance to attend school in the capital.
Davis, who is also the MP for Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Salvador, added that his constituents are concerned.
“I need them to reconcile what they are talking about in the public versus what is actually happening on the ground because I am getting a lot of requests from the Family Islands,” he said.
“My constituents are coming to seek assistance with their schooling and tuition and other things associated with their schooling because this promise of free education is non-existent.
“So, I’m calling upon him to explain.
“…It’s irreconcilable. It’s either free or it’s partly free, or it is paid.”
The letter released by UB states that tuition at the university has been unchanged for 20 years and fees paid by students accounted for only 20 percent of what it costs to attend UB.
This, according to the letter, has resulted in an increased dependency on government subventions to support minimal operational, educational and growth expenditures.
Union of Tertiary Educators of The Bahamas President Jennifer Isaacs-Dotson told The Nassau Guardian on Monday that the union was never consulted on the fee increase.
Education: Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) 3rd Year