There was a 57 percent increase in scholarship recipients at the University of The Bahamas (UB) following the implementation of a grant program to cover the full cost of tuition for most students, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday.
“Last August, my government fulfilled a pledge to increase tuition-free access to tertiary education for all qualified Bahamians for the government tertiary education grant program,” he said at a groundbreaking ceremony for a new residential and multipurpose building to serve UB students.
“To date, approximately 2,900 students enrolled at UB are benefitting from this program.
“And I am happy to announce that since the enactment of such program, the [number of students on scholarship] has grown by 57 percent. Of that number, 178 students are receiving an additional $500 per month residential grant to help defray the cost of housing for qualified students who must relocate to attend UB.
“All students coming from the Family Islands are given this $500 grant. And it is projected that that student body will increase by 15 percent annually. And it had just recently increased as a result of Hurricane Dorian by a little less than 10 percent as a result of individuals relocating from Grand Bahama to New Providence.”
The government announced last year that it will spend $19 million annually on the Bahamas Government Tertiary Education Grant Programme at the university. The grant covers tuition, course fees, stipends for teachers and nurses in training and an accommodation allowance of up to $500 per month for students who have to relocate to New Providence to attend UB.
Students who are Bahamian citizens, enrolled full-time at UB and maintain a minimum 2.0 grade point average are eligible for the grant.
Minnis said overall student enrollment at the university is expected to continue to increase.
“I am advised that the university is planning a steady growth in student enrollment over the coming years guided by a recently approved strategic plan,” he said.
“And enrollment is projected to increase annually by 10 percent.”
The university’s new complex will be the result of a public-private partnership between UB and Providence Advisors Limited and Asset Campus International, an affiliate of the third-party student housing operator Asset Campus Housing, to design and construct the multi-purpose area.
Minnis said the grant, combined with the allowances for Family Island students, will guarantee success for the project.
“Many of those future Bahamian and international students will be residents of this university residence,” he said.
Minnis added, “So, I can say to Providence that this is an excellent project in that already you will have over 200 students supported by the government of The Bahamas.”