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College student numbers soar

Bermuda College Vice President, Dr Phyllis Curtis-Tweed, Minister Diallo Rabain and Bermuda College student, Alex Pacheco.

Student numbers at The Bermuda College have more than doubled in the last five years according to the Ministry of Education.

And, the ministry said, the numbers are up in part because of wider access to Government funding in the form of scholarships and grants.

At a press conference this morning, Diallo Rabain, the minister for education, said enrolment at the college had gone from 726 students in 2016 to more than 1,700 this academic year.

“We are confident this results from the provision of the removal of financial barriers and the continued success of the Bermuda College to provide attractive avenues to higher learning.,” Mr Rabain said.

“Since 2017, this government has invested over $500,000 each year at the Bermuda College through tuition grants, scholarships and awards for students.

“This Government believes that finding funding to attend the college should not get in the way of any student pursuing an obtaining their academic goals.

“Access to post-secondary education is an integral part of the continued development and success of Bermuda. We recognise the importance of providing our people with opportunities, and will make no apologies for doing so.”

Mr Rabain said that three forms of funding – the tuition grant, the Ministry of Education scholarship, and the Promise programme – were available for students.

He said that the number of students on the Promise programme – which provides free tuition – had risen by 80 per cent this year.

“We expect this number to increase as students weigh their options – and parents look at their pocket books – and realise how affordable and accessible it is to attend the Bermuda College,” he added.

Alex Pacheco, 19, a second year student at the college, explained how the Promise programme had eased a financial burden on his family.

“It’s been incredibly valuable and worth its weight from the very beginning,” Mr Pacheco, who is studying business administration, said.

“It has helped me and my parents financially as the whole programme allowed me to lessen the load on their backs when it comes to tuition fees.

“I have been able to reduce the overall stress that comes with dealing with finances.”

Mr Rabain said that the college’s accreditation status also made it a “wise choice” for Bermudians planning to enter further education.

The college has transfer agreements with more than 30 colleges in the UK, Canada, and the Caribbean, attesting to its ability to “meet rigorous quality standards subject to external review and verification”, according to the minister.

“These agreements provide opportunities and pathways for our students to pursue higher degrees, starting here at home and saving money during those first two years of a college education.”

According to surveys, one third of Bermuda College students plan to continue their studies overseas.

“The return on Government’s investment in education at this level is clear – enrolment at Bermuda College is a win-win for Bermuda from an academic perspective and a financial stance.

“We encourage you all to expand your horizons and move forward with confidence by attending the Bermuda College, where there are many pathways to discover.”

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Published February 17, 2021 at 3:49 pm (Updated February 17, 2021 at 4:27 pm)

College student numbers soar

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