PM: Govt committed to free UB education
Following the announcement of a 15 percent tuition increase for first-time, first-year students of The University of The Bahamas (UB) effective this fall, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday doubled down on his campaign commitment to provide free education at the institution.
“We have made a commitment that education is a priority for our government,” Minnis told reporters following a signing ceremony for two Inter-American Development Bank loans at Meliá Nassau Beach resort.
“If our country is to advance and opportunities are given or presented for Bahamians, then it’s essential for our citizens and our students to be educated so that they take advantage of all the job opportunities available.
“We’ve made a commitm sent that education will be free for Bahamians once they meet certain qualifications.
“That commitment still holds.
“We also made a commitment that those students coming from the Family Islands, we understand the stress and the strain that they and their family undergo in terms of looking for accommodation.
“We’ve made a commitment that we will help our brothers and sisters coming from the Family Islands and we’ll provide them with $500 per month to assist them with their lodging.
“The commitment that we’ve made, we will adhere to.
“…You would note that we have embarked on providing preschool education because we know that with preschool education, our citizens have greater opportunities to become better leaders, to become managers, presidents et cetera.
“We’re providing free preschool education for Bahamians.
“We will be known as the government who had [provided] education, from birth to departure.”
On March 29, UB announced via an email to faculty and students that effective fall 2V019, 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.
Currently, the estimated real cost of attendance per student at UB is between $26,810 and $30,810 annually, according to the letter. The increase will raise the fees to between $29,180 and $33,780.
The letter states that the new tuition and fee structure will not affect currently enrolled students.
When asked about the government’s promise of free education, UB President Dr. Rodney Smith said, “What I would say about that is the university has been working very, very closely with the government over the past several months with regards to the tuition grant initiative and these increases were also calculated into all of those figures as well.”
In June 2018, Minnis pledged that free tuition for full-time Bahamian students at UB will begin fall 2019.