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Scheme aims to create ‘college-going’ culture

Diallo Rabain, the education minister, and Duranda Greene, president of Bermuda College, outline a new college grants scheme (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Dozens of high school pupils will get cash for college under a new grants scheme, the Minister of Education said.

Diallo Rabain estimated that “a maximum of 60 students” from Bermuda’s public secondary schools would qualify for the College Promise programme, which will cost about $279,000 a year.

He said that the Government also planned to increase a separate financial aid programme by $200,000 to $500,000.

Last year the scheme provided $300,000 to pupils with a grade point average of at least 2.0 or higher.

Mr Rabain said the College Promise programme “will incentivise college attainment by rewarding students with financial support to attend Bermuda College”.

He said similar programmes provided benefits, including increased access to college, created a “college-going culture”, and encouraged economic development.

Mr Rabain said that there were no restrictions on what subject was studied.

He added: “At the moment, there is nothing that will restrict anyone from taking up any course that they wish to take up.”

Duranda Greene, the president of Bermuda College, said that the programme provided the college with the “opportunity to do our part in making sure that Bermudians are trained at the higher education level”.

Dr Greene added that the recent census revealed a “great discrepancy” between Bermudians and non-Bermudians in postsecondary education, but the new grants scheme offered the chance to “close that gap”.

She said: “We know that by 2020 most of our jobs are going to need some sort of higher education.

“So this is an opportunity to ensure that all Bermudians are prepared to take their rightful place in their own country.”

The College Promise programme was unveiled by the Government in the Throne Speech this month.

It pledged to provide free tuition to public school pupils who achieved a 3.0 GPA or better.

Mr Rabain added that the $200,000 boost to the other financial aid programme would “ensure that students with a demonstrated financial need are not hindered from attending Bermuda College”.

He said: “These students would include, but are not limited to, students whose parents are currently receiving financial assistance from the Government, foster care students, ex-foster care students and those who have recently been in the judicial system.

“Such a programme will also assist in breaking the generational cycles of families being on financial assistance and promote college realisation to those individuals who may not otherwise consider furthering their education.”