Jeffrey Lloyd, Minister of Education.
By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
INCREASES to the University of the Bahamas’ (UB) tuition and fee schedule will offset the institution’s “significant deficit,” according to Education Minister Jeffrey Lloyd.
He was addressing public fallout over the proposed 15 percent hike in fees for first year students this upcoming fall semester.
In a letter to students over the weekend, UB’s Office of University Relations advised that as of fall 2018, the estimated real cost of attendance per student attending the institution was between $26,810 and $30,810 annually inclusive of housing, based on figures provided by the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships.
It added: “As of fall 2019, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships estimates that for first-time, first year students, the annual cost of attendance per student will be between $29,180 and $33,780. Whereas at other institutions approximately 38 percent of the cost of attendance is covered by student tuition and fees, at UB, this accounts for merely 20 percent of the cost of attendance.”
The letter further noted tuition and fees had gone unchanged for 20 years with government subvention covering the minimal operational, educational and growth expenditures.
As of this fall late registration fees will go from $150 to $250; application fees will go from $40 to $50; ID card fees will go from $10 to $20; transcripts and e-transcripts will go from $5 to $20; local status letters — inclusive of enrolment, initial review, progression and completion letters (except initial graduation letters) — will go from $10 to $50; international status letters will go from free to $60; add/drop/withdrawal fees will go from $20 to $25; diploma certificates will go from free to $50 and graduation evaluation fees will go from $100 to $250.
Mr Lloyd, who yesterday referred to these increases as a “small adjustment,” said despite the move, the Minnis administration is committed to delivering on its promise of free tuition for UB students who meet certain criteria.
“It has to be said, the University of the Bahamas has, for a long time, been operating with a significant deficit. What this is, is a small adjustment of 15 percent to fees and tuition that we hope can go toward lowering that legacy deficit,” he said.
“We, as a government, have proposed our plan of getting students to UB. And once that is the case, we are committed, and this also important to understand, getting them there with free tuition,” he added.
Mr Lloyd said the government would seek to clarify its “free education” plan in the coming months, suggesting that definitive details would be presented during the 2019-2020 budget debate.