UB extends operations to quell registration chaos

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – President of the University of the Bahamas, Dr. Rodney Smith, on Thursday announced that the registration process will be extended throughout this weekend and the deadline for payment of tuition and fees will be extended until Monday, January 7.

The extension comes as the University experienced issues with its new online registration system referred to as Banner. This led the University to activate immediate contingencies to hopefully ease the frustration of hundreds of irate students who stood on long lines outside the Portia M. Smith Building on Wednesday and Thursday to either register, be advised or to pay tuition and fees for the Spring semester.

A statement released yesterday from the University’s president, Dr. Rodney Smith, outlined that the deadline for the payment of tuition and fees have been extended to Monday, January 7, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.

Thereafter, the process of de-registration will commence.

However, the statement said the University will extend its operations into the weekend in order to complete registration for students.

“The student services office within the Portia M. Smith building (PMS) will be open on Saturday, January 5 and Sunday, January 6, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.,” the statement read.

“This includes the cashiers, Ministry of Education, Financial Aid and Registrar’s offices.”

The statement further outlined that the following adjustments have been made:

 

Bill Payment

Effective immediately, students who are making full payments to cashiers should use the east entrance to the Portia M Smith building, rather than the main entrance at the north of the building.

However, students are urged to take advantage of online payment via the new Banner system.

The University said the A13 lab is still available for students needing to complete this transaction as well as to print transcripts.

“Students are reminded that their debit and credit cards may be limited to $1,000 per day and they will need to contact their banks to increase the amount. There is no need to come to campus if you are paying online,” the University said.

 

Deferred Payment
As for deferred payments, the statement released from the president outlined that students were being processed at the Performing Arts Centre as of = 12:00 p.m. yesterday (January 3, 2019) and tickets have been disbursed to those who were already on lines at the Portia M. Smith Building in order to preserve their processing order at the Performing Arts Centre.

Effective immediately, the University said the following are needed for the processing of deferred payments:

A current bill
The initial payment (one-third) and processing fee
A valid ID
Signature for the Deferred Payment Contract

“The balance (two-thirds) of the deferred payment is due by the end of the Spring 2019 semester. Please know that the additional paperwork that was normally required for this process has been suspended,” the statement from the president outlined.

The UB president explained in his issued statement that Banner, the registration system, was  designed to bring about increased efficiencies in student processing, chief among which are registration and online bill payment.

The system, he said, became operational last Summer, initially allowing current and subsequently new students to register online and pay their tuition and fees.

Dr. Smith outlined that for Spring 2019, students continued to use the online system to complete their registration, but unfortunately, they encountered a number of circumstances which  prompted the University to activate these immediate contingencies as there appears to have been an increase in the number of students seeking the University’s deferred payment plan this Spring.

“We discovered that these students account for the majority of the students on the lines at the Portia M. Smith Building,” Dr. Smith said.

“Many of the students on those lines are also being processed for the Ministry of Education’s bursary and Teacher Education Grants.”

Also, at a press conference held yesterday in the boardroom of the University’s Harry C. Moore Library and Information Centre, Dr. Smith said enrollment at the University during the Spring semester is growing, having enrolled 460 students.

“We brought in over 1400 new students in September in 2018 so our numbers are growing. The system will be adjusted as we grow but we have to almost go through these learning processes in order to know how to and where to make those adjustments,” Dr. Smith said.

Ide Thompson, a senior at UB said he was towing the line outside the Portia Smith Building since 7:00 a.m. on Thursday.

He said yesterday’s line to register was longer than Wednesday’s.

“Yesterday the line wrapped around the basketball court but today [Thursday] it went all the way around the parking lot so there is a lot more congestion today and a lot more chaos,” Thompson said, adding that while waiting to pay his bill, he attempted to assist other students as he currently serves as a member of UB’s student government.

“We are all about ensuring that students get the help they need when we have crazy situations like this,” he said.

Classes at UB commences for Spring 2019 on Monday, January 7.