More than 1,600 people have applied for scholarships, according to Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald, but only 350 applicants will get one.
Education Minister Jerome thanked all of the individuals who submitted applications to the Scholarship & Educational Loan Division for the National Merit, National Academic, National Technical and National Grant Award.
Unfortunately, he said, due primarily to budget constraints and individuals failing to meet qualification standards, it was impossible to award scholarships to all that applied.
This year, the National Scholarship Committee selected some 350 individuals to receive scholarships through this programme.
Minister Fitzgerald said the committee was mandated to observe several criteria during the process.
Selections had to be fair and objective; they had to be based on an applicant’s academic performance; selections had to take into account the financial need of the applicant; give priority to areas of study that are of importance for national development of the country and in line with the policies outlined in the Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) Charter for Governance and give priority to those wishing to pursue tertiary education at The College of The Bahamas (COB), other local tertiary institutions, and accredited institutions in the region.
The minister acknowledged that the applicants who did not receive a grant will be disappointed;
However, he encouraged them to remain focused.
“I would like to encourage persons who were unsuccessful and all young Bahamians leaving high school to strongly consider the College of The Bahamas and other local and regional colleges and universities as viable options. These institutions offer quality education, a wide variety offering at a significantly reduced cost compared with institutions in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom,” the minister stated.
The government’s policy to provide tuition scholarships to every Bahamian who wants to attend the College of The Bahamas provided they were accepted and that they achieved five BGCSE’s with ‘C’ and above, inclusive of Math and English Language is still enforced.
This year, the ministry will provide awards to over 600 young people pursuing teaching, nursing, and other disciplines at the College of The Bahamas.
The Government of The Bahamas provides an 80 per cent tuition subsidy to all Bahamians attending the University of The West Indies.
Minister Fitzgerald thanked members of the National Scholarship Committee for all they had to accomplish in such a short time and in light of the current budgetary constraints.
He also commended the successful applicants, wished them well in their educational pursuits and encouraged them to take careful advantage of the opportunity.
“Study hard, get great grades, maintain a 3.0 average or above and complete your degree. We need you to assist in building our nation,” he said.
Successful applicants will be contacted by the Scholarship & Educational Loan Division to inform of them of their award and other pertinent details.