Ministerial Statement by the Minister of Education and Workforce Development, The Hon. Diallo V. Rabain, JP, MP:
Mr. Speaker, This morning I rise before this Honourable House to provide a final report on the 2017-2018 Government Grant awarded to Bermuda College for the purposed of offering financial support to its students.
Mr. Speaker, Let me first remind my Honourable colleagues that on August 15th, 2017, shortly after being elected, this Government announced that a grant in the amount of $300,000 would be issued to Bermuda College to provide financial support to its students. You will recall that the $300,000 was to be used to financially assist students enrolled in three categories of study:
i) Non-programme and programme academic division courses;
ii) Professional and Career Education (PACE) programmes. This is a new benefit for students. Heretofore, Bermuda College did not provide funding for students enrolled in the Division of Professional and Career Education (PACE); and,
iii) Bachelor degree programmes offered through the Bermuda College.
Mr. Speaker, To be eligible for an award, students were required to complete an application form and a financial worksheet to demonstrate financial need. Current students also needed to have a grade point average (GPA) of 2.00 or higher. The financial awards ranged from 30% to 80% of a student’s educational costs, with the educational costs defined as the value of tuition plus fees.
Mr. Speaker, During the Fall 2017 semester, one hundred and eight-nine (189) students received a total of $193,715. One hundred and twenty-six (126) were from the Academic Divisions and sixty-three (63) were from the Division for Professional and Career Education (PACE) which included seventeen (17) students enrolled in the Bachelors of Business Administration degree in partnership with Mount Saint Vincent University. The awards ranged from $132 to $5,444 with the average award being $1,025 for the semester.
Mr. Speaker, During this current semester, Spring 2018, one hundred and twenty-four (124) students received awards totaling $105,855. Ninety-four (94) students from the Academic Divisions and thirty (30) students from the PACE Division received awards. Fifteen of the PACE awardees were in the Bachelor of Business Administration degree programme. The awards offered in the Spring semester ranged from $192 to $4,371 with the average award being $854.
Mr. Speaker, This additional funding has impacted students at Bermuda College in several ways:
- It has provided a source of funding for students who did not meet the Bermuda College’s Financial Aid criteria but demonstrated a need for financial support to pursue their academic goals. This was particularly beneficial to those students enrolled in the PACE Division.
- It provided additional funds for students who received limited funding through Bermuda College’s Financial Aid package; thus, providing a financial aid support package that was more reflective of the student’s actual need.
- Finally, it afforded students enrolled in the Mount Saint Vincent University programme the opportunity to take additional courses; thus, decreasing the length of time it will take them to complete their bachelor’s degrees.
Mr. Speaker, I am most pleased of how the Bermuda College has distributed the additional funding. The Government’s objective to increase accessibility to students in need is being met. We will work to ensure that the lack of finances is never a barrier for our students to achieve higher level learning that will provide the education to be productive and contributing citizens. Thank you Mr. Speaker