Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd said yesterday the University of The Bahamas’ (UB) enrollment is expected to exceed 6,000 in fall 2020.
The minister noted that that would represent the highest enrollment in the institution’s history.
In fall 2015, there were 4,800 students enrolled, according to Lloyd.
He said that figure dropped by 300 the following year before increasing to 4,669 in 2017.
In 2018, UB had an enrollment of 4,400 and 4,671 in 2019, according to Lloyd.
“It is anticipated that this year, 6,072 students will be enrolled at the University of The Bahamas,” Lloyd said in the House of Assembly.
Lloyd said many Bahamian students, who were studying in the United States, have expressed concern about returning to the U.S. because of the state of the novel coronavirus pandemic and the surge of new cases.
His comments came as he sought to clarify the university’s financial status amid reports of a possible implementation of cost-saving measures.
Lloyd noted that the government’s overall support for the university has increased roughly $10 million since 2017.
“In the budget year 2018/2019, UB received a total of $38,559,074,” he said.
“At that time, it serviced approximately 4,800 students. In 2019/2020, it received a budget of $30,744,000 for its operational support. Additionally, it received $17 million as a scholarship grant for eligible qualified university students.
“In this budget year, 2020/2021, UB will again receive the same amount as last budget year — $30,744,000 — and will have an increase of $1.5 million for its tuition grant support for a total of $18.5 million, bringing the overall total to some $49.2 million.”
Lloyd noted that this was $11 million more than “its highest peak in its history”.
“Like every Bahamian government department and every other household and institution in government on this planet, adjustments had to be made because of the new realities that confront humanity,” he said.
“However, these global adjustments certainly, in our particular circumstance, largely spared the most essential services in this country, the education and training of our people — young and old alike.”
Last week, The Nassau Guardian revealed that UB’s board is considering 20 percent salary cuts as well as 50/50 insurance contributions at the university.
This paper understands that it is also considering sending faculty over 65, as well as faculty with 30 to 40 years of service, into retirement.
The board is reportedly considering an increase in faculty load and class sizes and an elimination of mileage and non-essential staff positions, according to sources familiar with the matter.