By RIEL MAJOR
Tribune Staff Reporter
NEW and existing students who meet certain entry requirements to the University of the Bahamas will qualify for a free tuition grant, Education Minister Jeffrey Lloyd said yesterday.
The government will cover the cost of all qualified students’ tuition and mandatory course fees.
He said: “This is not an open university. The same acceptance that the university now prescribes nothing has changed. All we are saying is and we are committed to this in our manifesto that we will make tertiary education accessible for all qualified Bahamian students.”
He also said: “The programme does not cover non-instructional fees or security deposit, application fee, drop/add fees or books. It does not cover courses taken during the summer, unless in extenuating circumstances as determined by the university,” he told the House of Assembly. “The government reserves the right to bond grant recipients in specific disciplines such as education and nursing.”
Mr Lloyd also announced that “qualifying students” from Family Islands will be given $500 per month as an accommodation allowance.
Last year, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis stated the government will provide free tuition for UB students who meet the entry requirements in September 2019.
Observers quickly noted the government has long given scholarships to Bahamians who meet certain criteria, however at the time Mr Lloyd said this assistance in the past has not covered the full cost of tuition while the government’s new initiative will.
Dr Minnis said previously: “I wish to announce at the outset that beginning in September 2019, all full-time Bahamian students who meet certain entry requirements will receive free tuition. The details of these requirements will be announced. Students will have to maintain a minimum GPA to maintain their grant. This requirement will also be announced. This major investment in education will help scores of young people to realise their dreams as we build a more equitable society.”