NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The University of The Bahamas is expected to see a significant increase in students with just over 6,000 students expected to enroll this Fall.
Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd yesterday attributed the estimated increase to the global coronavirus pandemic and the growing number of cases in the United States – where thousands of Bahamian students study abroad.
Lloyd said many of those students are refusing to return due to those circumstances.
He noted that UB officials anticipate 6,072 students will be enrolled at the university for the Fall semester.
In 2019, enrollment stood at 4,671 students; in 2018, 4400 students; in 2017, 4669 students; in 2016, 4500 students; and in 2015, 4,600 students.
On Monday, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that all international students who are pursuing degrees in the country will have to leave if their universities switch to online-only courses or risk deportation.
ICE advised that the U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester and they will not be permitted to enter the country.
However, there is an exception for universities offering a mix of online and in-person classrooms.
ICE has advised international students enrolled in the country to consider other measures such as transferring to schools with in-person instruction.
The University of The Bahamas has extended its deadline for undergraduate admissions applications to July 9 to accommodate the unforeseen challenges of the pandemic and subsequent closures.
Lloyd yesterday underscored the government’s commitment to UB, pointing out that the Minnis administration has increased overall support by some $10 million since coming into office.
“Like every Bahamian government department, and every other household and institution in government on this planet, adjustments had to be made because of the new realities that confront humanity,” he said.
“However, these global adjustments, certainly in our particular circumstance, largely spared the most essential services in this country, the education and training of our people, young and old alike.
“That is why additional sums are being expended to those administering the upcoming national exams which begin July 13.
“That is why sums have been increased at BTVI to expand its capabilities and its technical offerings for now nearly 6,000 students.
“That is why $11 million this year, twice the budgeted amount last year, is targeted to conclude the digitization process of the education system in The Bahamas.
“In spite of these unforeseen challenges, this government continues to invest in the young and not so young minds in this country.”