Enrolment at the Bermuda College has increased from 726 students in 2016 to more than 1,700 this year.
Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday (Feb 17), Education Minister Diallo Rabain attributed part of the increase to Government funding, to the tune of $500,000 a year since 2017 through scholarships, tuition grants and awards.
According to the Ministry, the numbers have more than doubled in the last five years.
“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.,” said Mr Rabain.
“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.”
He also noted that “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.”
On the Promise programme, which provides free tuition, the number of students increased by 80 percent 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.
Student Alex Pacheco, 19, who is now in his second year studying business administration, explained how the Promise programme eased the financial burden on his family.
“It’s been incredibly valuable and worth its weight from the very beginning. 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,” he said.
“I have been able to reduce the overall stress that comes with dealing with finances.”
Highlights of the Minister’s full statement:
The Bermuda College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
Bermuda College’s accreditation status and international reputation testify to the College’s commitment and capacity to deliver a level of education to students that meet rigorous quality standards subject to external review and verification. Students graduating from Bermuda College can transfer course credits to another college or university without repeating them.
The Bermuda College has more than 30 transfer agreements with colleges and universities in the USA, UK, Canada and the Caribbean. 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.
The Bermuda Government Tuition Grant is a needs-based programme designed to off-set the total cost of tuition and fees per semester. Support ranges from 30% to 80% of the tuition and is applied for through the Bermuda College financial aid office. The application process opens on July 1 each year. This program has assisted just over 800 students to date.
MOE Scholarships and Awards
Through the Ministry of Education, Scholarship and Awards can be applied for using www.bermudascholarships.com. The scholarships and awards are as follows:
- Minister’s Applied Science Student Awards (5 Awards)
- Minister’s Exceptional Student Award
- Minister’s Technical and Vocational Award
- Minister’s Bermuda College Book Awards (10 at $500 each)
Each of these awards is worth $5,000 each except the Book Awards, in which 10 are given, worth $500 each.
The College Promise was introduced in 2018 and provides free tuition to attend the Bermuda College for any public school student graduating with a 3.0 GPA.
Now in its second year, there are 70 College Promise students enrolled at Bermuda College. In 2020, there was an 80% increase from the first year of College Promise. We expect this number to increase as students weigh their options and realise how affordable and accessible it is to attend the Bermuda College.
Since 2016, Bermuda College has seen an increase in enrollment from 926 students to just over 1700 in 2020.
The following is data from the most recent Bermuda College Annual report taken from current students to support this narrative:
- 33% of graduates expressed an intent to further their education overseas, primarily to obtain a four-year degree;
- 22% intended to seek employment with their newly acquired skills;
- 19% indicated plans to remain at the College to pursue an affiliate programme through the College’s institutional partners;
The return on Government’s investment in education at this level is clear; enrollment at Bermuda College is a win-win for Bermuda from an academic perspective and a financial stance.
With so many people out of work, we must ensure that our people continue to move forward in their lives and educational pursuits.
I encourage our not just current students, but all Bermudians looking to further their education or acquire a certification or retool a skillset, to take the wise route, and consider Bermuda College. 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.
In closing, the Minister issued a reminder for all students and those who want to attend Bermuda College to pursue higher education degrees, retool or enrol in certification classes to follow-up with the Bermuda College.
- Top Feature Photo: Bermuda College Vice President, Dr Phyllis Curtis-Tweed, Minister Diallo Rabain and Bermuda College student, Alex Pacheco