University welcomed students for the Fall semester
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The University of the Bahamas (UB) has addressed issues with deferred payment plans that have in part contributed to a backlog at the beginning of each academic semester, UB President Dr. Rodney Smith said yesterday.
Students opting for the Deferred Payment Plan have been challenged at the beginning of each academic semester; subjected to long lines and extreme wait times to get their financial agreements signed off.
“Now that we have worked out all of those kinks, deferred payment is also now online,” Smith told reporters as UB welcomes students for the new academic year.
Last Spring, UB had to extend the registration deadline to accommodate the backlog, according to Smith, who said that was the result of deferred payments and scholarship recipients having to register within the same timeframe.
Yesterday, he noted that with the new digitized BANNER registration system, “students don’t have to come in for that (deferred payment plans).
He said, “Everything a student needs to do now to register for classes; to pay their bills; and everything [else] can now be done online.”
The new registrations system was a part of the university’s summer upgrades to help students sail smoothly through the school year as enrollment progresses.
As UB conducted its Fall semester orientation yesterday, Smith told the media that since the transition to university status, from its former college status, enrollment and interest in the university has increased.
The university will welcome some 1,500 first-time students this term and stands to welcome another 5,000 students in total enrollment this academic year.
“Once we transitioned to the University of the Bahamas, two things began to happen,” Smith said.
“Bahamians began transferring back home from colleges in the United States and Canada, and we also had an increase in the number of students who’ve expressed an interest from around the world.
“I think we have about 15 or 20 different countries represented on campus.”
Smith added that the university is making progress in introducing more study abroad opportunities.
“I think the government tertiary grant will help us to propel even further and faster with a policy that requires all university undergraduates to have at least one study abroad experience by the end of their third year; return home; finish their fourth year, and graduate.”
The government introduced free tuition for Bahamians students at the university who meet certain criteria during the budget debate last year.
Smith was said he would be able to provide figures on the number of students who took advantage of the program within a few weeks.