The Ministry of Education’s Scholarship and Educational Loan Division (SELD) 2019-2020 season is officially open, with applications being accepted from qualified students for one or all of 11 scholarships – All Bahamas Merit, National Merit Scholarship, National Academic Scholarship, National Technical Scholarship, The National Tuition Assistance Scholarship, OAS Scholarship, Gerace Research Award, Public School Scholars Programme, The Student-Athlete Resources and Support (STARS) Programme, The Student Athlete Track and Field Grant and The University of the West Indies Tuition Subvention.
All Bahamas Merit Scholarship
The All Bahamas Merit Scholarship (ABMS) is the most prestigious scholarship awarded to a single Bahamian candidate. In order to be considered for the award, applicants must have a cumulative GPA (grade point average) of 3.7 and above, a minimum of eight Bahamas General Certificates of Secondary Education (BGCSE) with at least eight A passes and a Scholastic Aptitude (SAT) score of 1,220 or higher, or an ACT score of 25 or higher.
The applicant must also be exceptionally well-rounded and have applied to or been accepted to an academically prestigious international college or university. The scholarship has a maximum value of $35,000 per year for up to five years and is tenable at accredited international colleges and universities.
Bahamian high school graduates may still be eligible for this scholarship if they continue in any high school extension program (approved by the committee) for a maximum of two years. These students must apply for consideration at the end of their second year. The deadline for ABMS application is March 31, 2020.
National Merit Scholarship
The National Merit Scholarship (NMS) is the second highest level of merit scholarship awarded by the government of The Bahamas, and can be awarded to multiple Bahamian applicants. Candidates must have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 and above, achieve an SAT score of 1,220 or higher, or an ACT of 25 or higher, and possess a minimum of seven BGCSE “A” passes.
Candidates must have applied or been accepted to an academically prestigious international college or university. The scholarship has a value of up to $25,000 per year for up to four years and is tenable at accredited international universities, colleges or institutions. The NMS deadline is March 31, 2020.
National Academic Scholarship
The National Academic Scholarship is awarded to a well-rounded candidate with an overall GPA of 3.0 or above who possess a minimum of five BGCSE “A” passes. The applicant must be accepted to an approved international accredited college or university. The applicant must demonstrate and must pursue a course of study that meets with national development goals. The award has a maximum value of $10,000 per year and is renewable for up to four years of study. The deadline for application is March 31, 2020.
National Technical Scholarship
The National Technical Scholarship is available to students wishing to pursue a certification course in a technical or vocational field. Award recipients are selected on the basis of academic success at the high school or college level. The scholarship has a maximum value of $7,500 per year for studies at approved and accredited technical programs abroad, and $2,000 for applicants who wish to pursue studies locally at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI). It is renewable for up to four years of study. Candidates must have a GPA of 2.5 or above, and pursue a course of study that meets with national development goals. Candidates pursuing Bachelor’s degrees in a technical field must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and must also be accepted to a program that meets with national development goals. The deadline for application is March 31, 2020.
National Tuition Assistance
The National Tuition Assistance, formerly known as the National Grant, is awarded to Bahamian students and is intended to assist high school graduates or people who are currently pursuing professional, technical, graduate or post-graduate degree studies. Award recipients are selected on the basis of academic success at the high school or college level, and financial need.
High school graduates must possess a GPA of 3.0 or above and a minimum or five BGCSEs with a grade of C or above.
The grant has a maximum value of $7,500 per year at internationally accredited institutions, colleges and universities or $4,000 for local institutions, and is renewable for up to four years of study at accredited local and international universities, colleges and technical and vocational institutions. Successful candidates must pursue a course of study that meets with national development goals at the undergraduate or graduate level. Application deadline is March 31, 2020.
Public School Scholars Programme
The Public School Scholars Programme was instituted in 2015 to promote college readiness, equity and college access in the public school system. The Ministry of Education will offer guaranteed scholarship awards for each Bahamian high school graduate enrolled in the program. The award will range from $7,500 but will not exceed $15,000 per academic year for a maximum of four years. Partnering institutions are required to offer a matching grant of equal or higher value. Eligible candidates must be officially recommended by their secondary high schools and meet the admissions requirements of the institution. Scholarship applicants must also demonstrate financial need and a genuine desire to pursue a college/university education.
First preference is given to first generation college students and students attending college within one year of graduating high school. Students must also pass an interview. Application deadline is March 31, 2020.
Gerace Research Centre Scholarship
The Gerace Research Centre Scholarship is awarded to Bahamian students by an association of colleges and universities in the United States in cooperation with the Ministry of Education. Participating college and universities offer full and partial tuition scholarships; the Ministry of Education pays room and board charges. Gerace scholarships are available for studies at the Bachelor’s and Master’s degree levels and have a maximum value of $10,000 per year for a maximum of four years. Students must have a GPA of 3.0 or above and possess a minimum of five BGCSE “C” level passes. Applicant deadline is March 31, 2020.
OAS-Governemnt of The Bahamas Scholarship
The OAS-Government of The Bahamas Scholarship is awarded to Bahamian students wishing to pursue technical and academic studies at the graduate or postgraduate level. Each scholarship recipient will receive $7,500 per year from the ministry for a maximum of four years; the OAS will award each recipient a one-time grant of $1,000. Applicants must apply for admission to the areas and levels of study as indicated per participating partner institutions and list of priority areas. Applicants are encouraged to apply for admission to three different participating partner institutions to increase the chances of being granted admission and selected for the scholarship. To be considered for this award, applicants apply to firstname.lastname@example.org and must also apply for the National Tuition Assistance Scholarship. Application deadline is March 31, 2020.
Student-Athletes Resources and Support (STARS) program
The Student-Athletes Resources and Support (STARS) program provides student-athletes with the resources and support they need to extend their educational and athletic experience beyond high school. Application deadline is March 31, 2020.
Track and Field Student Athlete Grant
The Track and Field Student Athlete Grant recipients are selected on the basis of the applicant’s ability to obtain a partial scholarship from an accredited college or university in the United States or Canada, and the recommendation of the Bahamas Parents Association of Track and Field Athletes (BPATFA). This scholarship is managed by BPATFA. Application deadline is March 31, 2020.
The University of the West Indies Tuition Subvention
Bahamian nationals registered and attending the University of The West Indies at Mona, Jamaica; St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago; and Cave Hill, Barbados, campuses are currently entitled to tuition waivers University Grant Committee (UGC) funded programs. For students pursuing the MBBS (medicine) program, the Bahamas government pays 80 percent of the tuition at the Mona, Jamaica, campus and 60 percent at St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago; and Cave Hill, Barbados, campus. If the program is self-funded, the student pays 100 percent of tuition. Upon completion, the recipient of the UWI Subvention will be expected to return to The Bahamas and serve in the area for which he/she was trained. Medical students are bonded. Application deadline is March 31, 2020.
Documents needed to apply for scholarships include Bahamian passport, NIB smart card, official acceptance letter, official transcript, copies of certificates (BGCSE, IBs, Aps, SAT/SAT 11s), copies of diplomas, degrees, certificates, completed essays (as required by each scholarship), at least two reference letters and a schedule of fees (tuition, room and board).
Applicants can complete an online application via SELD’s website scholarshipbahamas.com.
During the last academic year, SELD officials noted an increase in the number of government scholarship applicants from 5,000 general applicants in 2017-2019 to 5,666 in 2018-2019. Of the candidates, 3,357 (72 percent were from New Providence while the statistics of Family Island recipients showed a marked improvement of 1,094 (24.58 percent) total applicants.
SELD officials said the division seeks to provide even more Bahamian students with a multiplicity of opportunities to pursue the careers of their dreams by establishing the necessary networks though local and international partnerships. Accordingly, the division has secured relationships with approximately 30 international colleges and universities, and it is anticipated that the number would expand as discussions with North American colleges and universities are ongoing.
The aim, officials say, is to propagate communities of young people equipped to embrace tertiary education in hopes of them becoming globally competitive citizens.
For more information on the scholarships, applicants can visit the Shirley Street office, telephone 242-502-9025, or visit the website www.scholarshipsbahamas.com.